Typically in a bull market rally, whether it be cyclical or secular, all of the stocks are lifted due to the upward market movement. With the exception of very defensive names like utilities, most sectors follow suit. The current rally, which has been in place since the fiscal cliff issues were “solved” at the end of last year, has been no different, with the exception of one very prominent sector, technology.
In a new report, the equity strategists at UBS A.G. (NYSE: UBS) point out that the global tech sector has underperformed the world stock sectors by 11% (total return) over the past year. In addition, tech’s forward price to earnings (P/E) is below the market’s for the first time in 17 years. For most investors, those would seem contrary statistics, given the explosion of smartphones and tablet sales.
The software and services research teams at UBS are broadly positive for the second half of 2013, expecting improving revenue trends driven by a ramp in contract renewals and improved business confidence. We reported earlier this week that the Swiss bank had launched coverage of the Internet & Interactive Entertainment group with a positive stance. This underperformance gives investors an attractive entry point for a sector that can move fast with economic tailwinds.
The follow are the technology names to buy from the UBS Global Top 40 Stock list.
Networking market leader and longtime performance laggard Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) tops the UBS list. Trading at a reasonable 12.20 times earnings and offering shareholders a 2.70% dividend, Cisco’s shares have been in a slump for years, trading as low as $15 last summer. The UBS price target for the stock is $25. The Thomson/First Call estimate is right in line at $24.
Cloud software leader VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) is a new addition to the UBS global top 40 stock list. Having traded as high as $118.79 in the past year, the stock has declined almost 35% and shares sit just above a 52-week low. The UBS price objective for this subsidiary of storage giant EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) is $115. The Wall St. consensus price target is $100.
Semiconductor equipment manufacturer KLA-Tencor Corp. (NASDAQ: KLAC) has a place at the UBS table. KLA has enjoyed a superb run since the lows of the market in 2009. With an anticipated pick up in worldwide semiconductor production, their diagnostic equipment may be in high demand. The UBS price target for the stock is $58. The consensus estimate is $61.
San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) makes the UBS list, and many others on Wall St. This wireless semiconductor company is a leading provider to companies making and selling smartphones and tablets. The UBS price objective for this top stock to buy is $76. The consensus estimate is at $76.50.
Cyber security has become a huge business and government priority. Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP) makes the UBS list for just that reason. After it has been battered down more than 30% from its 52-week high, investors may have a solid entry point at these levels. The UBS price target for Check Point is $62 and the consensus estimate is right at $55.
Rounding out the UBS stocks to buy list is Fidelity National Information Services Inc. (NYSE: FIS). With more than 35,000 employees, this Jacksonville-based industry giant offers banking and payments technology solutions worldwide. While the UBS price target is $42, the consensus estimate is $41.
For investors, the ability to buy quality technology stocks at bargain price points is always welcome. The stocks on the UBS list represent not only what seems to be good bargains, but also the opportunity to buy sector market leaders in their respective areas. That could bode well, especially if an anticipated second half of the year pick-up in tech business emerges.