Jefferies Data Center Stocks to Buy for the Data Explosion: Equinix and Others

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Data centers are the backbone of the Internet. Gartner estimates that given current rising levels of data use, global data center demand will rise 7% on a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from now until 2017. Given the tremendous growth potential of the sector, the analysts at Jefferies have put together a comprehensive research report with a preference for highly connected providers able to maintain pricing resilience and compete for higher-end customers. The European market is less mature than the U.S. market with better pricing fundamentals in general. Here are the top data center stocks to buy.

Core Site Realty Corp. (NYSE: COR) data centers are specialized and secure buildings that house networking, storage and communications technology infrastructure, including servers, storage devices, switches, routers and fiber optic transmission equipment. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $40. The Thomson/First Call estimate is at $38. Investors are paid a solid 3.4% distribution. Core Site is a real estate investment trust (REIT), and REIT distributions may contain return of principal.

CyrusOne Inc. (NASDAQ: CONE) announced last week that Artisan Infrastructure had selected its data center facilities for enterprise class colocation and Internet exchange services. Artisan is a world leader in wholesale-only infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) for cloud solution providers. Selecting CyrusOne enables Artisan to access more than 100 carriers across the state of Texas and deliver services to CyrusOne customers. Jefferies’ price objective for the stock is $25, while the consensus target is $25.50. It is also structured as a REIT, and investors are paid a 3.1% distribution.

Digital Realty Trust Inc.‘s (NYSE: DLR) net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has exceeded that of the S&P 500 and greatly outperformed compared to the REIT industry average. The net income increased by 5.5%, when compared to the same quarter one year prior, going from $48.04 million to $50.71 million. Jefferies has a $81 price objective, but the consensus stands lower at $72.50. This REIT pays investors a strong 5.3% distribution.

DuPont Fabros Technology Inc. (NYSE: DFT) is another REIT, which leases its data centers to American and international technology companies to house, power and cool the computer servers that support their critical business processes. Jefferies has a $32 price target, and the consensus target is $27. Investors are paid a 4.3% distribution.

Equinix Inc. (NASDAQ: EQIX) connects companies directly to their customers and partners in networked data centers through the Equinix interconnection platform. The company announced yesterday plans to develop a new International Business Exchange (IBX) data center in Osaka, called OS1, which will be its first data center in the western region of Japan. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $250, which is also the consensus target. A move to the price target would represent a 35% gain for investors. Equinix is not a REIT.

Interxion Holding N.V. (NYSE: INXN) recently completed a successful, 300 million euro private placement to fund the tender of its senior 9.5% notes that were due in 2017. This will substantially help lower its debt service costs. The Jefferies price target for the stock is $31.50, and the consensus target is much lower at $21.58.

If there is one thing we can count on it is the continued astronomical growth of data. Every day new apps are designed to provide consumers yet another way to utilize the Internet. Streaming video, which requires large amounts of storage and chip speed, is growing at a staggering clip. Not only will data centers continue to add new business, they have to continue to grow their own capabilities to handle demand.