RBC’s Favorite Large Cap Software Stocks for 2015

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After an outstanding year in 2014, technology looks poised for a follow-through in 2015, with most Wall Street firms that we cover still very positive on the sector. The software arena stands out as a subsector that could hold outstanding potential for investors. A new research report from RBC models growth in every software category, from 5.5% in infrastructure to 7% in security and a gigantic 25% in software-as-a-service (SaaS) for 2015.

The research report highlights seven top large cap software stocks to buy for 2015, but we focused in on the five that have the largest upside to the RBC price targets. All are rated Outperform at RBC

Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) operates as a design software and services company worldwide. Its Platform Solutions and Emerging Business segment offers AutoCAD software, a computer-aided design application for professional design, drafting, detailing and visualization, as well as AutoCAD LT, a professional drafting and detailing software. The stock performed well last year, and the analysts feel it is due in part to its plans to accelerate the shift to a subscription-based business model.

RBC has a $70 price target for the stock. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is slightly lower at $68.38. Shares closed trading Wednesday at $57.38.

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Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) is a company that loves income tax time, as their Turbo Tax product is one of the most widely used and sales are expected to be very solid once again this year. Intuit is also well-known for the QuickBooks line of accounting software, which is used by firms big and small.

Intuit investors are paid a 1.1% dividend. The RBC price target for this top software company is $105. The consensus target is $893.73. The stock closed trading Wednesday at $88.67.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) remains the mega-cap favorite stock at RBC, and it offered an outstanding 2014 for shareholders. With a new CEO making the right strategic moves and the company evolving away from dependence of the Office suite of products, the future for the software giant looks very bright. With potential earnings surprises and a host of product catalysts to boost visibility and earnings in 2015, Microsoft remains one of the top picks for growth and income investors.

Microsoft shareholders are paid a 2.6% dividend. The RBC price target is $53, and the consensus target is $49.84. Microsoft closed at $46.23 a share.

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Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE: CRM) has been the momentum stock trader’s dream over the past few years. The RBC team and many other analysts on Wall Street feel that while the stock trades in line with its fast organic SaaS peer group, which RBC sees as having the largest growth rate in 2015, the company should trade at a premium to the group. Analysts cite Salesforce’s dominant positioning in the powerful cloud, mobile and social computing waves, larger revenue run-rate compared to the group average, stronger cash generation and its TAM, which is substantially larger than the peer group average.

The RBC price target is posted at $72, and the consensus target is $70.41. Shares closed on Wednesday at $56.93.

ServiceNow Inc. (NYSE: NOW) is listed as the top pick for 2015 at RBC, and the company expects to have 50% of the Global 2000 customers by 2020 adding 15 to 20 each quarter. ServiceNow is the enterprise IT cloud company that’s service is used to create a single system of record for IT and automate manual tasks, standardize processes and consolidate legacy systems. Using the company’s extensible platform, customers can create custom applications and evolve the IT service model to service domains inside and outside the enterprise.

The RBC price target is $80, while the consensus stands at $73.30. ServiceNow closed Wednesday at $67.09 a share.

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The world has changed, and with the exception of Microsoft, some of the bigger players in the industry have had a hard time adapting. While the game is hardly over for those companies, the sleeker and more nimble players are grabbing market share based on new business demands and needs. These are some of the companies that are RBC top picks, and they are very solid stocks to own in 2015 and beyond.