At the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the theme that surrounded the show was the “Internet of Things.” The basic meaning being that in some way, shape or form, everything will be touched by technology and the Internet. This brave new world represents the kind of technological change and lifestyle that is often depicted in blockbuster movies about the future. The reality is that it is closer than you may think.
The technology analysts at Stifel believe the Internet of Things has arrived and is starting to present significant investment opportunities. They put their money where their mouth is and produced an epic 60-page white paper that dissected and discussed every aspect of the titanic potential change that is headed the modern world’s way. We dove in to this gigantic report and extracted some of the top themes that will lead the way in the future.
With too many stocks to list at once, we did a sector search, and came up with these top names to buy at Stifel that represent the future of technology via the Internet of Things. With everything from home automation to wearables, life as we know it will be changing, and changing sooner that we think.
Ambarella Inc. (NASDAQ: AMBA) develops semiconductor processing solutions for video that enable high-definition (HD) video capture, sharing and display. The company’s solutions enable the creation of video content for wearable sports cameras, automotive aftermarket cameras, Internet protocol (IP) security cameras, digital still cameras, telepresence cameras and camcorders in the camera market, as well as manage IP video traffic, broadcast encoding and IP video delivery applications in the infrastructure market. The Stifel price target for the stock is $34. The Thomson/First Call price target is $30.50. The stock closed Tuesday at $29.54.
Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) is a former high-flyer trying to fight its way back to prominence. The stock of this provider of semiconductor solutions to wireless and wired communications has seen a surge over the past four weeks and may be on portfolio managers’ radar. A key reason for this move has been the positive trend in the earnings estimate revisions picture. For Broadcom’s full-year estimate, nine estimates have gone higher in the past 30 days, compared to no downward revisions. This trend has helped the consensus estimate to trend higher, going from $1.78 a share a month ago to its current level at $1.84. Investors are paid a 1.6% dividend. The consensus estimate is pegged at $32.34. Broadcom closed Tuesday at $29.20.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the networking leader and may be poised to have a monster 2014. The Internet of Things will be based on the network interface ability of tech companies, and Cisco is expected to be a leader in that capacity. In addition, the company has been looking to protect its core business from new competition. Last year it bought out the remainder of its majority-owned data center technology start-up called Insieme in a deal that could cost up to $863 million. Investors are paid a 3.1% dividend. The Stifel price target for the stock is $25. The consensus estimate is at $24.50. Cisco closed Tuesday at $21.80.
EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) may be an investor’s perfect tech stock for 2014. Combining its gigantic lead in large-scale storage with the majority ownership of cloud software giant VMware makes the stock a solid double threat play for investors. VMware alone contributes almost 24% of EMC’s total revenue. This makes for a great one-two punch for EMC. The company is the leading provider of virtualization software, which lets companies run multiple software operating systems and apps on one server to reduce hardware costs, and it appears poised for more robust growth after a management change, a spin-off and a perception of threats from rivals. Investors receive a 1.6% dividend. The Stifel price target is $30, and the consensus is $29.23. EMC closed Tuesday at $23.66.
Flextronics International Inc. (NASDAQ: FLEX) will be a company that assembles many components needed in the Internet of Things. Quarterly sales rose 17.3% to $7.183 billion, which translated to adjusted earnings of $0.26 per diluted share. For reference, both numbers easily exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, which called for earnings of just $0.23 per share on revenue of $6.7 billion. Flextronics provided fiscal fourth-quarter guidance for sales in the range of $5.9 billion to $6.3 billion, with adjusted earnings per share in the range of $0.18 to $0.22. The company is also buying back a ton of its own stock. The Stifel price target is $12, and the consensus target is $9.60. The stock closed Tuesday at $8.14.
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) will be a player in the Internet of Things world. Microchip directly partnered with multiple industry-leading sensor manufacturers and sensor-fusion specialists to create a solution that enables faster time to market without the need for sensor-fusion expertise. The company is a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and flash-IP solutions. The consensus price target for this top name to buy is $49.20. The stock closed Tuesday at $43.61.
Nimble Storage Inc. (NYSE: NMBL) may be one of the most intriguing names on the Stifel list. The company focuses on providing a hybrid storage system, combining features of both flash and disk drives. It offers high-speed flash speed with an ordinary disk for storing data. This allows faster loading of applications and reduces cost of the storage system. The stock had a recent initial public offering and has been red hot since. The Stifel price target is posted at $53, and the consensus target is $48. Nimble closed Tuesday at $39.78.
Red Hat Inc. (NYSE: RHT) provides open source software solutions primarily to enterprise customers worldwide. The company develops and offers operating system, middleware, virtualization, storage and cloud technologies. The stock remains a favorite of CNBC’s Jim Cramer and is expected to show strong sales gains the rest of this year. The consensus target is $61.59, and Red Hat closed Tuesday at $54.86.
Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) is another top name on the list. The company’s 2013 portfolio expansion included the acquisition of ExactTarget, which rounds out its marketing automation capability, and the introduction of Salesforce1, a leap forward for developing applications that run natively on mobile devices. The consensus price target for the stock is at $60.93, but Salesforce.com closed Tuesday at $60.96.
Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC) wraps up the Stifel list of top stocks to buy. Western Digital’s market share in the total addressable hard disk drive (HDD) market increased from 44.9% in the previous quarter to 45.1%. Moreover, market share expanded from 44.9% reported in the year-ago quarter. One of their major competitors, Seagate Technology, was taken private in 2000 in a huge $19 billion deal and returned with a solid IPO. Investors are paid a 1.4% dividend. The Stifel price target for the stock is set at $105, and the consensus is $97.46. Western Digital closed Tuesday at $83.49.
The sheer size and scope of things to come is almost too incredible for some of us to imagine. Take your current dependence on everything digital and controlled via smartphone and tablets, multiply that by a factor of 100, and that may get us 20 years down the road. Technology investing and innovation in theory knows no bounds. Adding stocks that are participating in the Internet of Things race is a smart portfolio move.