7. Lam Research Corporation
> Industry: Semiconductor equipment
> Revenue (last 12 months): $4.7 billion
> 1-year share price change: 51.3%
Lam Research makes the equipment that semiconductor manufacturers use in chip production. With ever shrinking chip sizes, Lam’s equipment is critical in fabricating integrated circuits at a microscopic scale.
Lam has definitely benefited from growth in the semiconductor industry, which World Semiconductor Trade Statistics estimated grew by 9% in 2014. Gartner estimated in October that manufacturers have increased spending by 11.4% in 2014 and will increase spending by another 8.8% this year, with outsize growth among memory chip makers. Stifel Nicolaus analyst Patrick Ho wrote in a December note that he believes Lam is among the companies that will best take advantage of this growth
In addition to being well positioned to take advantage of industry trends, Stifel also noted that Lam has launched an aggressive share buyback campaign and instituted a dividend.
8. Facebook, Inc.
> Industry: Internet software and services
> Revenue (last 12 months): $11.2 billion
> 1-year share price change: 47.8%
Perhaps no company’s CEo has been in the spotlight as much as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has. At just 30 years old, Zuckerberg and the story of the birth of his social network were already the subject of a major Hollywood movie. Zuckerberg also spent part of 2014 meeting with heads of state in the United States, Japan, India, and Indonesia.
Yet, in his role as the head of a public company, Zuckerberg has been remarkably successful. Last year, Facebook dispelled concerns about its ability to generate mobile revenues. And its 2012 decision to buy mobile photo-sharing app Instagram now appears extremely prescient In addition, Facebook was also one of the nation’s best to work for, according to its rating on career site Glassdoor.com
As of the most recent quarter, Facebook increased daily active users by 19% year-over-year and mobile daily active users by 39%. Further, 66% of advertising revenues came from mobile, thus effectively eliminating any doubts about the viability of the company’s mobile strategy. On a trailing 12-month basis, Facebook’s revenues rose by 63%. Company margins, too, expanded considerably.
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