Despite an outstanding year for the technology sector as a whole, many investors may be surprise to find out that many of the top stocks in the sector actually underperformed. In fact, a new report from the Internet analysts at RBC points out that in 2014, only five of the 18 mid to large cap Internet stocks managed to outperform the market, and a whopping 16 of the 20 small cap Internet stocks had negative returns. That is bad for shareholders that were long the stock to start the year, but it could be great for investors rotating capital or with new money to put to work now.
We focused in on the five top stocks to buy in the RBC report, three large cap and two mid to small cap. All could be outstanding additions to aggressive growth portfolios.
Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) once again leads the charge for the top online spot in holiday sales, and the RBC team think that 2015 catalysts and a cheap valuation compared to historical numbers make the stock very reasonable. Current reports indicate the company is the clear pricing winner in almost all categories for holiday gift buying, with the exception of the toy arena. The huge increase in e-commerce growth should continue to benefit the company, but with some on Wall Street seemingly losing faith in Amazon founder and leader Jeff Bezos as he pushes the company into new product silos, aggressive investors may want to look for a solid entry point to buy shares.
The RBC price target for the stock is a large $420. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target for the online giant is $357.16. The stock closed Thursday at $307.36 a share.
Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) continues to be a top media play on Wall Street, and the company recently announced yet another expansion of its programming and reach across Europe. The RBC team also feels that Netflix likely will benefit from a materially stronger original content launch, which would bolster the already strong franchises like the hit political thriller “House of Cards.” With many consumers tired of rising cable and carrier content prices, the streaming leader may have a big 2015 in front of it.
The RBC price target for the stock is $550, and the consensus target is $416.32. Shares close trading on Thursday at $334.63.
Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has been on a huge roll the last three earnings reporting quarters, and many on Wall Street feel that the stock has plenty of room to run. Mobile revenue and advertising numbers have skyrocketed, and the company has started to add a search component that could prove to be another earnings silo for the social media giant. Recently Facebook unveiled its much-anticipated ad platform that has an answer for advertisers who want something better than the Web-restricted cookie to track and target ads. Atlas can follow Facebook members where they digitally roam, from Web to smartphone, smartphone to tablet. With over 1.3 billion registered users around the world, Facebook’s e-commerce potential is also very significant and growing larger monthly.
The RBC price target is $90, and the consensus target is $87.80. Shares closed Thursday at $77.73.
Yelp Inc. (NASDAQ: YELP) is one of the mid to small cap stocks that the RBC team loves for 2015. With the Priceline purchase of Open Table earlier this year, chatter has increased on Wall Street about a potential buyer for Yelp. Many point to the synergies of a purchase by Yahoo, while others suggest it would be a good fit for Expedia. Either way, Yelp has a massive sales force and relationships with more restaurants than any other site and the RBC analysts cite the outstanding 60% to 70% revenue growth over the past 12 quarters as a solid reason to like the stock going forward.
RBC has an $86 price target, and the consensus is at $82.53. Shares closed Thursday at $52.45.
Shutterstock Inc. (NYSE: SSTK) is the undisputed leader for online commercial digital imagery. They are the “you name, we have it” one-stop shop for any commercial or personal image or video need. The company offers its products for users to enhance their visual communications, such as websites, digital and print marketing materials, corporate communications, books, publications and video content. RBC is impressed with the company’s ability to take advantage of what they see as a secular movement of imagery and photography online. With the additions of added salesforce, new products, expansion and acquisitions all designed to help growth, and partnerships with Facebook and Salesforce.com, the stock could be poised for big growth.
The RBC price objective is a big $90, and the consensus target is $93. Shares closed trading Thursday at $71.67.
The mere fact that many of these top stocks have underperformed in 2014 is one of the key reasons to buy them for 2015. Investors need to continue to rotate stocks in a secular bull market to keep having solid upside potential for their portfolios.