Tickers in this Article: INTC, CSCO, BAC, JNJ
The feverish pace that the equity markets have maintained in the early stages of 2011 has pushed many large cap stocks to new heights. Among the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, at least 16 are at or near 52-week highs. The Dow itself has gained 6% on the year and is up 23.5% since this time last year. (For background reading, see How Now, Dow? What Moves The DJIA?)

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Not all of the Dow components have been peaking, however. A few still have a ways to go to make it back to their 52-week highs. In the coming days and weeks, investors will be tasked with determining whether these stocks will be able to break out to the next level or whether they are setting up for a pullback.

Technology Titans
Shares of Intel (Nasdaq:INTC) have experienced an uptick of 3.5% so far this year. This advance still leaves Intel 11.9% below its 52-week high. With its dividend yield of 3.3%, this stock may not currently be one of the Dow's top performers, but it has provided a steady and consistent cash flow for its investors.

In its recently reported Q4 results, Intel checked in with record quarterly revenue as a healthy server market produced strong demand for the company's microprocessors. Intel said that its consumer market segment experienced some softness, but all in all the company posted a rather impressive quarter.

On Wednesday of last week, shares of Cisco Systems (Nasdaq:CSCO) were trading down 14.2% after the company reported that its fiscal Q2 profit slid 17.9% as margins were pressured for yet another quarter.

Cisco did note that it repurchased $1.8 billion worth of its common stock at an average purchase price of $20.81 per share during the quarter. CSCO is now trading 30.5% below its 52-week high. Investors have been left to wonder whether this stock is a bargain or if the company overpaid for its buybacks. (For related reading, take a look at 6 Bad Buyback Scenarios.)

The Bank Trade
Switching away from the technology sector and into the financials, Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) has some lost ground to make up as well. The stock is presently trading 27% below its 52-week high.

Bank of America and many of its competitors do appear to be on the right track however. These big banks are back lending again and consumer credit has been improving across the board. Trading at a forward P/E of just 7.9 and a price-to-book of 0.69, it is hard to imagine that this stock is going to get much cheaper.

One other stock that still has some hurdles to overcome in attaining a new 52-week high is Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). The stock has dropped 1.9% year-to-date and is currently sitting 8.3% below its 52-week high. The company is coming off of a challenging 2010, although its medical device business had a great year and posted a 3.6% pop in international sales. JNJ also has a rich dividend yield of 3.6%.

The Bottom Line
Even though the Dow has gotten off to a splendid start to the new year, the success has not been shared by all components of the index. In fact, some of the stocks have struggled to keep up with the pack. These stragglers may be value plays for opportune investors, or they could end up serving as value traps for unsuspecting buyers. The jury is still out on which way these stocks will ultimately go.

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