As the geopolitical worries and fears of slowing growth in China circle the market, the firms on Wall Street that we cover at 24/7 Wall St. continue to pound the same drum. Investors looking for growth and relative safety in what may prove to be a very volatile year need to look to large-cap technology stocks. The sheer size and earnings ability of these companies, combined with low debt levels and mounds of cash, make their stocks one of the safer avenues to go down for the rest of 2014.
A new report out from the tech team at UBS points out that both the S&P 500 and S&P Tech indices declined 1.6% in the past five days. While that can be a rude awakening for investors who had a smooth ride in 2013, it also gives investors who have raised some cash a chance to enter some of the top technology stocks.
Here are the top large-cap technology names to buy now according to UBS.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) remains a top stock on the radar screen. Excitement over the new iPhone 6 is starting to gain traction as rumors of a larger screen and other new improvements are getting the Apple nation stirred up. Trading at just 12 times forward earnings, the stock remains a solid buy for investors. Shareholders are paid a 2.3% dividend. The UBS price target for the technology giant is $625. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $587.09. The stock closed Thursday at $530.65.
Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) remains the networking leader and may be forced to really start to show real growth to Wall Street after three straight subpar earnings reports. While the company has looked to protect its core business from new competition, stiff competition has started to squeeze the tech giant’s core earnings power. 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. As it is a leader in the new “Internet of Things,” investors are betting that the company will enhance the network interface ability of tech companies. Investors are paid a solid 3.5% dividend. The UBS price target is $26.50. The consensus estimate is at $23.77. Cisco closed trading Thursday at $21.52.
EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) may continue to be an investor’s perfect tech stock for 2014 and far beyond. 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. 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 appears poised for more robust growth after a management change, a spin-off and a perception of threats from rivals. This make for a great one-two punch for EMC. Investors receive a 1.6% dividend. The UBS price target is $30, and the consensus target is $29.28. EMC closed Thursday at $27.08.
Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) continues to plow ahead with what seems like a plan to conquer the tech world by having a large piece of everything. In fact, reports say that the tech giant was prepared to even outbid Facebook in its gigantic $19 billion purchase of WhatsApp, which rocked the technology landscape recently. While it obviously did not, the company is continuing to be the leader in everything from paid search to the Android operating system. The UBS price target for this undisputed technology leader is $1350, and the consensus target is $1322.38. Google closed Thursday’s trading at $1189.06
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) finally has settled the CEO issue by appointing Satya Nadella to be only the third CEO in the history of the software giant. The company has moved on to focus on its Windows product, which has shown serious intent in becoming one of the top players, and perhaps even to unseat iOS as the second-most popular operating system after Google’s Android. Windows phone is now the fastest-growing smartphone platform, and the second-most popular smartphone platform in Latin America and India. Investors are paid a nice 2.9 % dividend. The UBS price target is $43, and the consensus target is $38.60. Microsoft closed Thursday at $37.89.
Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL) has sputtered over the past year, giving investors a prime entry point to the stock. The technology giant is making a push into cloud computing, application virtualization and software-defined networking. Application virtualization and software-defined networking should be key areas of revenue growth going forward. Shareholders are paid a 1.2% dividend. UBS has set a $42 price target on the stock. The consensus target is $39.42. Oracle closed Thursday at $37.65.
Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) may be on the verge of making its gigantic world even bigger. Smartphone industry expert Tom Kang of CounterPoint recently said that he believes Lenovo will mainly rely on Qualcomm chips for handsets shipped outside China due to intellectual property reasons. After a nine-month integration period for the Motorola acquisition, Lenovo initially will target the United States and Latin American markets. The chip giant trades at a low 14.3 times forward earnings. Investors are paid a 1.8% dividend. The UBS price target is $84. The consensus price target for the tech chip giant is $81. The stock closed Thursday at $75.63.
Despite the growling of the bears on Wall Street, growth in the United States and abroad is probably somewhat understated. In addition, the deflationary calls also may be off as energy and food prices, combined with rising wages, are starting to have some effect, although muted. The top large-cap technology stocks offer growth, good dividends and, most important, an overall business that is not stagnant. While volatility will stick around this year, technology growth will as well.