The stock market has been going from strength to strength with the S&P 500 rising 22% year to date and NASDAQ rallying 19% so far. The steady growth rate came on the back of the reopening of economic activities, growing consumer confidence and an impressive earnings performance from corporates which continue to be the driving forces of the market.
Last week, markets gained following the Jackson Hole annual symposium where the Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said that it may start to taper back its bond-buying program this year. Markets welcomed this comment from the Fed that the bond-tapering exercise does mean that interest rates will be raised.
The low-interest rate environment that is here to stay will further boost growth. In fact, the surging growth rate of the markets have pushed up valuations to historic highs. Expensive valuations make the investment scenario difficult because a good investment made at an attractive price is the key mantra to reaping remarkable returns.
However, for long term investors, there is always an opportunity to buy. Stocks with solid business prospects and good management have been gaining this year to date and already hit a 52-week high. Nevertheless, there is still enough potential left in many of these stocks to scale higher. Here we pick some stocks that currently carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and also reached a 52-week high and are still strong bets for your portfolio.
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the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Stock Picks AON Plc ( AON Quick Quote AON - Free Report) hit its 52-week high of $285.79 on the last trading day and clocked a growth of 42.5% in a year’s time This insurance broker caught attention of the legendary investor Warren Buffett who made an additional investment in the company during the second quarter.
The insurance broker holds a niche position in its industry and is worth considering for exposure to the diverse lines within the insurance sector. It ranks second among the world’s largest publicly-traded insurance brokers with the first place held by
Marsh and McLennan Companies, Inc. ( MMC Quick Quote MMC - Free Report) . Its revenues have been increasing since 2017 on strong insurance premium and an established market across several lines. This growth trend is expected to continue for Aon.
A ramped-up economic activity will continue to fuel demand for property and casualty insurance, thereby driving commissions and fees generated by its Commercial Risk Solutions, Reinsurance Solutions, and Data and Analytic Service lines.
Its sturdy financial flexibility underscored by consistent cash generation and a disciplined capital management strategy provides it with ample scope to access the capital markets, reinvest in the business and capitalize on growth opportunities.
Analysts grew bullish on the stock and revised earnings estimates 4.4% and 3.8% upward, respectively, for 2021 and 2022 over the past 30 days.
For the current year, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings and revenues is pegged at 18.76% and 9.97% each.
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Equifax Inc. ( EFX Quick Quote EFX - Free Report) touched the 52-week high of $269.32 on the last trading day and has soared 42.5% in a year’s time. It is a global data, analytics and technology company. It provides information solutions and human resources business-process outsourcing services for businesses, governments and consumers. Its services are based on comprehensive databases of consumer and business information It uses advanced statistical techniques and proprietary tools to analyze all available data, creating customized insights, decision-making solutions and processing services. This helps customers understand, manage and protect their clients’ information and take more informed financial decisions. The company is extremely diversified with regards to client base, product and services, and geography, which proved extremely beneficial in adding business stability for the company. In fact the same is visible in its impressive operating performance, marked by annual earnings and revenue growth since 2010 and an earnings beat in 27 out of the past 28 quarters (missing estimates in only one). This stellar growth rate is also attributed by numerous acquisitions and joint ventures. Synergies from acquisitions along with continued general consumer credit activity, product innovation, initiatives to foster enterprise growth and efficient business executions will continue to drive Equifax’s revenues over the long run. Analysts are upbeat about the stock and have moved earnings estimates 6.4% and 5.6% north each for 2021 and 2022 over the past 30 days. For the current year, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings and revenues stands at 6.89% and 16.6%, respectively.
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research First American Financial Corporation ( FAF Quick Quote FAF - Free Report) is a leader in the Title and Settlement Services Industry, holding 23.3% of the Title market share. A general improvement in economy provides a tailwind to its business. It is primarily focused on the real-estate market while 92% of its revenues come from providing title insurance. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research
In the last reported quarter, the company’s bottom line beat estimates by 30.7% for the third consecutive quarter. Title segment revenues were up 44% year over year owing to strength in the purchase and commercial markets. This year, the company expects to achieve a record in its commercial business.
A hot real estate market works in favor of the company, given rising demand for its title insurance products. The housing purchase market saw a V-shaped recovery, led by low mortgage rates, favorable demographics and an appreciation in the home price.