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Find 'Strong Buy' Stocks Trading Near Highs During the Bear Market

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Stocks climbed last week in what appears to have been a solid relief rally during a broader market downturn. The S&P 500 posted a 6.5% jump during the holiday-shortened stretch, following its worst week since the initial covid selloff in March 2020 that saw it finally fall into an official bear market.

The Dow and the Nasdaq rallied alongside the benchmark last week. But the market slipped Monday and was down through early afternoon trading Tuesday because all of the same worries that sent stocks tumbling remain firmly in place.

The market might not be at its bottom yet and it could prove difficult to find any prolonged momentum until inflation finally starts coming down. The Fed has made it clear that it will keep its foot on the interest rate pedal until the central bank sees sustained data that shows prices cooling.

There are signs that inflation might start to come down from 40-year highs as the housing market cools and consumer sentiment hits record lows. But there is seemingly contradicting data and voices out there about whether or not the U.S. is headed for a recession in the very near future.

Some Wall Street heavyweights are saying the U.S. is already in a recession, while others point out it’s hard to call a recession when unemployment is near pre-covid lows and there are still millions of job openings. Hopefully, the second quarter earnings season, the June CPI print, and the Fed’s late-July meeting will provide far more concrete data and guidance as to what might be next.

That doesn’t mean investors should stay on the sidelines altogether because there are plenty of stocks currently outperforming the market and doing well even though the S&P 500 is in a bear market. Investors might consider boosting their portfolios amid the turbulence by buying stocks that have not only withstood the selling but managed to hit new highs recently.

Let’s explore a Zacks screen that helps us find ‘Strong Buy’ stocks trading near their highs right now.

Don't Be Afraid of New Highs

Some investors might prefer not to buy stocks at new highs. But if somebody asked you what the best stocks in your portfolio are, it’s likely you would name the stocks moving up the most.

The most basic idea is that the winners in your portfolio are the ones going up. If a stock is underperforming the market or going down, you'll quickly identify it as one of your worst holdings. Therefore, it makes sense that some of these stocks will be reaching new highs along the way.

Many investors are hesitant to buy stocks making new 52-week highs. But there really isn’t any reason to be. Some may worry that they have already missed the mark at that point, or that now it has more room to fall. Still, a stock making a new 52-week high is a ‘good thing,’ just as one falling to a new 52-week low is a ‘bad thing.’

On top of that, would the person who doesn’t want to buy stocks making new highs be upset if a stock they owned broke out to a new 52-week high? Statistics have also shown that stocks making new highs have a tendency of making even higher highs. And aren’t these the stocks we all dream about?

Now obviously, the fundamentals need to be there, and you should try to keep an eye on valuations. But if you were in a stock making new highs and cheering it on, it seems odd to be afraid of one doing the same just because you haven't bought it yet.

Think about this: A stock just made a new-52 week high, which is great news. Guess what? Last year it made a new 52-week high as well. And the year before that. And the year before that. Can you imagine all the money you'd be leaving on the table if you were afraid of being in stocks every time they made a new high?


• Current Price/52-Week High greater than or equal to .80

• Percent Change in Price over 12 Weeks greater than 0

• Percent Change in Price over 4 Weeks greater than 0

• Zacks Rank equal to 1

• Price/Sales Ratio less than or equal to Industry Median

• P/E (using F1 Estimates) less than or equal to Industry Median

• Projected One Year EPS Growth F(1)/F(0) greater than or equal to Industry Median

• Current Avg. 20-Day Volume greater than Previous Week's Avg. 20-Day Volume

• All of the above parameters are applied to stocks with a Price greater than or equal to $5 and an Average 20-Day Volume of greater than or equal to 100,000 shares.

• Percent Change in Price over 12 Weeks + Percent Change in Price over 4 Weeks equal to Top # 5

Here are two of the five stocks that made it through today’s screen…

Huron Consulting Group Inc. (HURN - Free Report)

Huron (HURN - Free Report) is a global consulting firm that aims to help “organizations accelerate their strategic, operational, digital and cultural transformation,” while also attempting to create “sustainable value” for its clients and shareholders. Huron’s core focus is helping clients who are attempting to figure out ways to adapt and succeed when “facing disruptive and regulatory” challenges and changes. HURN works with clients across healthcare, education, life sciences, financial services, energy, manufacturing, and beyond.

Huron shares have climbed 24% in the past 12 months, which includes a 25% run in 2022 to crush the S&P 500’s 18% downturn and its industry’s 25% fall. HURN’s Consulting Services industry sits in the top 11% of over 250 Zacks industries and all four brokerage recommendations Zacks has are “Strong Buys.” Plus, Huron’s Zacks consensus price target marks big upside to its current levels.

Greif (GEF - Free Report)

Greif (GEF - Free Report) is a global leader in industrial packaging products and services. GEF produces steel, plastic and fiber drums, alongside flexible products, containerboard, coated recycled paperboard, and tons more, including various specialty products. On top of that, Greif manufactures packaging accessories and provides filling, packaging and other services. Its portfolio also includes timber properties in the southeastern U.S.  

Greif operates in nearly 40 countries and it’s coming off a big year. Looking ahead, Zacks estimates call for its revenue to climb another 17% this year to help lift its adjusted earnings by 36%. GEF shares have surged 90% in the last two years to crush its highly-ranked Containers - Paper and Packaging industry’s 36%. This run includes a 7% climb in 2022. Greif’s dividend yields 2.9% at the moment and it upped its stock buyback program recently.

Get the rest of the stocks on this list and start looking for the newest companies that fit these criteria. It's easy to do. And it could help you find your next big winner. Start screening for these companies today with a free trial to the Research Wizard. You can do it.

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Disclosure: Officers, directors and/or employees of Zacks Investment Research may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material. An affiliated investment advisory firm may own or have sold short securities and/or hold long and/or short positions in options that are mentioned in this material.

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