Jefferies Says Tech Has Room to Run: 4 Top Picks to Buy Now

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Any way you look at it the market is expensive, but the one counterargument many of the bullish Wall Street analysts and strategists play is a good one. Earnings have grown sharply higher, and without earnings growth, there is no justification for the current high multiples. In addition, while the president has plenty of detractors, small business doesn’t seem to be among them as sentiment is very positive, and that can also drive earnings.

In a new research report, while Jefferies remains cautious, the firm does feel that certain areas of the market, including the industrials and technology, have some room to run. We screened the firm’s Franchise Picks list of high conviction ideas and found four top tech or tech-related companies that still look like solid ideas now.

Activision Blizzard

This stock remains a top pick on Wall Street and Jefferies says to buy the shares now. Activision Blizzard Inc. (NASDAQ: ATVI) develops and publishes online, personal computer (PC), video game console, handheld, mobile and tablet games worldwide. It develops and publishes interactive entertainment software products through retail channels or digital downloads and downloadable content to a range of gamers.

The company reported outstanding results that the beat estimates and raised forward guidance. The Jefferies team feels that the guidance is conservative, and with multiple game releases coming the rest of this year, the stock remains a top buy.

The key drivers for the company include the planned launches of “Call of Duty: WWII” (November 3 release date), for which management is already guiding to sales growth for the franchise in the fourth quarter, and “Destiny 2,” which is scheduled to debut September 8.

Shareholders are paid a small 0.50% dividend. The Jefferies price target for the shares is $75, and the Wall Street consensus target is $64.25. The stock closed Monday at $62.51 per share.

Alphabet

The search giant continues to expand and is even working on a driverless car now. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is a global technology company focused around key areas, such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, enterprise and hardware products. It generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising and by selling apps and contents on Google Play, as well as hardware products. The company provides its products and services in more than 100 languages and in 190 countries, regions and territories.

Alphabet offers performance and brand advertising services. It operates through Google and Other Bets segments. The Google segment includes principal internet products, such as Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Apps, Cloud, Android, Chrome and Google Play, as well as technical infrastructure and newer efforts, such as virtual reality.

The company reported solid second-quarter results and, despite its massive size, continues to grow revenue at a double-digit rate on a year-over-year basis. While profit was down this quarter, that’s only on account of a one-time, $2.7 billion fine levied by regulators in the European Union.

For the first three months of this fiscal year, Alphabet reported just over $26 billion in revenue, up 21% from the same period last year. Without the EU fine, it would have notched $6.87 billion in operating income, up around 15% from the second quarter of 2016. With the punishment, Alphabet managed a very respectable $4.1 billion in operating income.

Jefferies has a price target for the stock of $1,275. That compares with the much lower consensus estimate of $1078.42. The shares ended trading on Monday at $945.75 apiece.