Top picks 2012: Hain Celestial Group
Growing appetite for organic products makes Whole Foods supplier a healthy choice.
Hain Celestial Group (HAIN) offers natural and organic products, which are found mostly in Whole Foods Market (WFM) stores.
The company's product lines include beverages, frozen desserts, infant and toddler food, baking mixes, hot and cold cereals, pasta and other organic grain products.
Since bottoming with the broad market in March 2009, Hain's stock has rallied by over 200%, outpacing the S&P 500 by about 125%. This significant outperformance can be expected to continue. The stock is currently trading near $36, only $4 from the all-time high in late-2000.
The rally has been supported by a rising 20-week moving average, which currently resides just below current price levels and could continue to provide support on pullbacks.
Despite this very strong performance, there is still some skepticism among the analyst community. Currently, there are three "hold" ratings on HAIN, which creates strong potential for upgrades.
Additionally, the current short-interest ratio stands at over 6, meaning that it would take over six days of trading volume to unwind these bets against the equity. Investors can expect a fierce rally if the shorts should panic and begin covering on a large scale.
With a strong fundamental and technical backdrop, contrarian investors enjoy seeing skeptical sentiment as it indicates additional sideline buying power.
As stocks typically climb a "wall of worry," a continuation of current trends could lead to yet another year of major outperformance.
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Investors are anxious to see if hiring can maintain its strong pace in the second half of the year.
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