During the bull market for technology stocks in the 1990s, investors eagerly awaited the quarterly results from the large-cap technology leaders. The personal computer was being totally integrated into the home and business environment and pricing was more competitive with each passing year. In a new research report, Deutsche Bank A.G. (NYSE: DB) says its time for investors to own the “Enduring Eight” big-cap technology leaders again.
With business fundamentals expected to improve in 2013, corporate spending is expected to follow suit. The analysts at Deutsche Bank expect an upturn in tech business spending in 2013, after a flattish 2012, as growth picks up and confidence improves. Companies have been frugal in their information and technology budgets, and their IT infrastructure has aged. Gartner forecasts around 5% annual growth in information technology (IT) spending from 2013 to 2016, led by storage and software.
One key reason cited for purchasing the large-cap tech leaders is that, in the Deutsche Bank view, large multinational companies treat the global tech giants as key operational partners and not mere vendors. The long-term and global relationships these tech leaders have with customers are part of their ability to endure the challenges of a dynamic and competitive industry — a key difference from consumer tech products. In addition, these companies are already key players in big data, cloud and mobility, the main drivers of business IT spending
These are the Deutsche Bank enduring eight tech stocks to buy:
Networking leader Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) currently is trading near the $20 level. The Wall St. consensus estimate target for Cisco is $26.
Storage giant EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) makes the list. It is trading at what appears to be a support level of $23. The Thomson/First call price target is $30.
Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is the only personal computer company to make the grade. It closed last Friday at $20.15, and the consensus target is lower at $17.50.
International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM), the leader in IT products and services worldwide, has a consensus price target of $230. The stock closed Friday at $202.91.
Semiconductor giant Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) is the only chip company to make the Deutsche Bank list. The stock closed Friday at $21.03 and has a consensus price target of $23.00.
Windows software maker Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) also makes the Deutsche Bank list. The stock closed Friday at $27.95 and has a consensus target of $33.
Network storage solution leader NetApp Inc. (NASDAQ: NTAP) is trading near $33.95, which is way below the 52-week high of $46.80. The consensus price target is $40.
Application software giant Oracle Corp. (NASDAQ: ORCL) rounds out the enduring eight list. Trading close to its 52-week high at $34.63, it has a consensus price target of $38.
The analysts at Deutsche Bank point out that while growth disappointed in 2012, it should be better in 2013. Over the cycle, tech’s enduring eight have generated healthy growth, which has yet to be fully appreciated by investors. From 2006 to 2012, average annual revenue and earnings per share growth was 9% and 15% respectively, better than the S&P’s 4% for both. And net margins and free cash flow yields are higher than history. The average trailing price-to-earnings ratio for tech’s enduring eight has compressed to 11.2x from 17.5x in 2005 to 2010. These companies have gone from being growth at a reasonable price stocks (GARP) to deep value.
The bottom line for investors is that these large-cap tech leaders are cheap. They also are not prone to suffer the fate of tech trends or fads that can erode their core business. That can really help investors if the market rally starts to slow down.