Lazard Sees Top Software Stocks That Can Beat Analysts’ Third-Quarter Estimates

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With over a month left in the third quarter of 2013, there is still plenty of time for anything to happen. However, the software analysts at Lazard are starting to feel pretty good that some of the top software companies they cover can beat current top-line revenue estimates.

They caution that while the macroeconomic environment is still a cause for concern, those concerns seem to be waning as conditions, especially in North America, continue to improve. They also see U.S. federal spending as on track to be on par with 2012 spending. This may bode extremely well for strong government spending in the third and possibly fourth quarter.

Here are the top software stocks to buy at Lazard that may just top earnings estimates.

Citrix Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) is a name that is showing up on top lists around Wall Street. The company is seeing extremely strong cloud software sales growth and recently expanded its strategic alliance with Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) to support data centers. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $80.

CommVault Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CVLT) announced last week the industry’s first virtual machine (VM) intelligent archiving capability to help enterprises and service providers eliminate VM sprawl and regain control of virtual infrastructure resources. VM sprawl results from pervasive deployment and growth of virtual machines, some of which then sit unutilized long after their useful lives. The consensus price target for this intriguing mid cap name is $88.50.

Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) is another top stock to buy that may exceed third-quarter estimates. The company provides open source software solutions, primarily to enterprise customers worldwide. With 15.4% earnings growth reported in their fiscal first quarter, sales are booming as its Jboss middleware business drives revenue. The consensus price target for this fast growing company is $58.

NetSuite Inc. (NYSE: N) is the industry’s leading provider of cloud-based financials and omnichannel commerce suites. The company drives earnings growth with a subscription-based business model gives businesses a new way to sell services and products that can result in more predictable revenue streams. The consensus price target for the stock is $91.

Synchronoss Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SNCR) may not only beat earnings, but CNBC’s Jim Cramer is touting it as a breakout stock that may be ready to explode for investors. The company provides software-based activation and personal cloud solutions for connected devices. The consensus price target for the stock is $38.

Service Source International Inc. (NASDAQ: SREV) is a small cap name with big possibilities. The company provides recurring revenue management contracts maintenance, support and subscription for technology and technology-enabled health care and life sciences companies. The consensus price objective for the stock is $14.

The Lazard trading desk said that active traders may want to look at software stocks that still had unusually high short interest. Those included Concur Technologies (NASDAQ: CNQR), Tangoe Inc. (NASDAQ: TNGO), Jive Software (NASDAQ: JIVE), Marketo Inc. (NASDAQ: MKTO), VeriSign Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW). Stocks with high short interest can explode to the upside if the company gets back on track and short sellers are forced to cover.

While the market might be in for some rough weather the next four to six weeks, most firms on Wall Street are positive about the balance of 2013. Investors and traders may want to use any market weakness to add some of the top Lazard stocks to buy to their portfolio. That may prove a winning hand when earnings for the third quarter start to roll in.

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