UBS's Top Tech Stocks to Buy for 2015

With the stock market poised to hit new highs yet again, even the most confident investors may be starting to wonder about what to do for 2015. Take profits and sit on cash? Or rotate from big winners to stocks poised to continue an uptrend next year. In a new research report, the tech analysts at UBS have updated commentary and analysis on the firm’s top technology stocks to buy that have recently presented at the UBS global technology conference. Four stocks stand out as solid choices for aggressive growth investors in 2015.

Highlighting the trend in cloud service and a huge need and demand for security, the UBS team focused on four top stock to buy that have solid business upside and the potential to trade higher.

Cornerstone OnDemand Inc. (NASDAQ: CSOD) provides talent management on the cloud via recruiting, learning, performance and outreach. The company announced earlier this month it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Evolv, a privately held big data/analytics company offering a machine learning and data science platform. The UBS team met with the CEO and came away with multiple new data points that gave them confidence that the company’s core business lines in North America and emerging markets are gaining traction

UBS has a $45 price target for the stock, while the Thomson/First Call consensus target is posted at $37.15. The stock closed on Thursday at $31.27.

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FireEye Inc. (NASDAQ: FEYE) was absolutely crushed after third-quarter earnings missed badly and investors now have the opportunity to add a top software security stock at a very reasonable entry point. The business model transition, which caused the earnings miss, from do-it-yourself (in-period product) to service-based (rateable, deferred revenue) security deployment may continue to cause near-term uncertainty, but the analysts believe the latter could prove to be a better longer-term scenario providing greater model visibility. In addition, the company is a favorite for product resellers focused on advanced persistent threat protection for clients.

UBS has a $40 price target and the consensus target is $37.95. The stock closed on Thursday at $30.99. FireEye traded to almost $100 earlier this year.

Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) is a top large cap value technology stock rated Outperform at UBS that offers investors solid growth and income. While posting strong earnings for the third quarter, Microsoft also announced huge layoffs of up to 17,000 employees as a result of the Nokia handset purchase last summer, and it continues to wring costs out of the system. The UBS team sees Microsoft continuing to evolve away from its core Office suite of products and focused on multiple areas of growth and new products.

Microsoft investors are paid a respectable 2.5% dividend. The UBS price target is at $52, and the consensus target is at $49.43. Microsoft closed Thursday at $48.70.

ServiceNow Inc. (NYSE: NOW) wraps up the list of software stocks that can dominate sales in coming years. ServiceNow is the enterprise IT cloud company with a service 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 UBS team is very bullish on the stock and they think billings growth for the second half of 2014 could be up as much as 50%.

The UBS price target for the stock is $72, while the consensus stands at $73.30. The stock closed Thursday at $64.13.

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The world has changed, and with the exception of Microsoft and a few others, 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 very solid stocks to own in 2015.

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