Up for More of the Same?

S&P's latest screen finds 15 stocks that have posted strong gains so far this year and still appear to be undervalued

By Numer de Guia

Just because a stock has enjoyed some hefty gains doesn't mean that it can't move even higher. That's the thought behind our latest stock screen. We wanted to find stocks that have posted strong gains thus far in 2002 and still carry S&P's top investment rankings of 4 STARS (accumulate) or 5 STARS (buy), meaning S&P analysts expect them to outperform the overall market in the next 6 months to 12 months.

While stocks often falter after a strong run -- when, for example, momentum players who have ridden a rising stock finally take their profits -- S&P equity analysts continue to rank the issues in this week's screen favorably. That's because they think the stocks are still below their fair valuations, based on the companies' fundamentals and prospects. The bottom line: Even though the market has been quick to realize their value, the stocks remain attractive.

The particulars for this week's screen: We looked for stocks that have posted year-to-date returns of at least 25%, yet continue to maintain their 4- or 5-STARS rankings from S&P equity analysts.

And we took it a step further. As an assurance that these were established, income-generating outfits, we looked for ones that have reported positive operating earnings over the past 12 months, and have indicated dividend yields of 1% or better.

Our search turned up these 15 names:

• Advanta (ADVNA )

• Belo Corp. (BLC )

• Commerce Bancorp (CBH )

• Commercial Metals (CMC )

• Cooper Industries (CBE )

• Cooper Tire (CTB )

• Adolph Coors (RKY )

• Fortune Brands (FO )

• General Motors (GM )

• Longs Drug Stores (LDG )

• Maytag (MYG )

• McCormick & Co (MKC )

• Newell Rubbermaid (NWL )

• Quanex (NX )

• UnionBanCal Corp. (UB )

De Guia is a portfolio services analyst for Standard & Poor's

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