Schaeffer's Trading Floor Blog

New Annual Highs: VZ, MRK, and DHI

Verizon, Merck, and D.R. Horton rallied to new annual highs today

by 6/29/2012 2:27 PM
Stocks quoted in this article:

After yesterday's wild ride, the major market indexes are marching decidedly higher today, as welcome news from the European Union (EU) summit has amplified the bullish sentiment on Wall Street. So far today, the number of stocks at new annual highs is far outshining the number of stocks at new lows. The NYSE has seen a whopping 213 securities at 52-week peaks, while the Nasdaq tallies 120 annual highs. Among the equities marking technical milestones in today's action are Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ - 44.59), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK - 41.44), and D.R. Horton, Inc. (NYSE:DHI - 18.23). Here's a review of the notable stocks that marked new annual highs.

  • VZ enjoyed an analyst-induced bounce this morning, and ran to a 12-year best of $44.77. Specifically, Citigroup upped its price target to $44 from $39, while Piper Jaffray raised its second-quarter customer-growth and EBIDTA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) estimates. VZ has done quite well, technically speaking, tacking on more than 20% during the past year, and outperforming the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) by 20% over the past three months. But this positive price action has yet to grab the full attention of the brokerage bunch, as 18 out of 30 analysts consider the stock a "hold" or worse. Plus, the average 12-month price target sits at $41.13, which is a more than $3 discount to today's new high.

  • MRK continued its recent rally today, notching a new two-year high of $41.50 on the heels of Wednesday's extension deal with AstraZeneca (AZN). It seems that the biotech giant will be able to book sales of AZN's acid reflux medicines Nexium and Prilosec for another two years. The shares are currently sitting on a 17.5% year-over-year gain, while its Relative Strength Index (RSI) stands at an elevated 72 in overbought territory. Most of the analysts are already bullish toward MRK, as there are 12 "strong buys," six tepid "holds," and zero "sells."

  • Following a bout of upbeat news for the housing sector earlier this week, DHI continues to sit pretty on the charts. In fact, just moments ago, the shares leaped to the $18.36 mark -- their loftiest price since August 2007. DHI is up 60% year-over-year, and is within range of closing the week atop $18 for the first time in nearly five years. The construction issue could get some help from the analyst group, in light of its overall uptrend. The stock has racked up just six "strong buys," versus seven "holds" and one "strong sell."

Click here to read the new lows list, including Gevo, Inc.'s (NASDAQ:GEVO) retreat to an all-time worst.

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