As the dollar has raced to new highs against almost every other currency, equity strategists have urged investors to buy stock in companies that primarily do business in the United States, as foreign exposure is more costly. While good advice for last year, it may be time to look for stocks with more international exposure. A new research note from Jefferies makes the case that it is time for stocks with international exposure to begin to outperform.
The Jefferies research shows that internationally exposed cyclical U.S. industry groups are starting to outperform domestically exposed groups. The analysts maintain that any weakening in the dollar would be helpful, but dollar stability is the key. This makes sense as foreign economies, especially in Europe, are starting to perk up.
The five top technology names highlighted in the Jefferies research that have a substantial amount of non-U.S. business are Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Priceline Group Inc. (NASDAQ: PCLN), Qlik Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: QLIK) and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW). All are rated Buy at Jefferies.
Check Point Software Technologies
With a 53.5% international exposure, this remains one of the top tech stocks to buy on Wall Street for a security presence. The Jefferies analysts, like many on Wall Street, think the company is one of the best in helping customers protect against advanced persistent threats.
Check Point is considered a worldwide leader in securing the Internet, providing customers with uncompromised protection against all types of threats, reducing security complexity and lowering the total cost of ownership. Check Point first pioneered the industry with FireWall-1 and its patented stateful inspection technology. This week the company bought Israeli start-up Hyperwise, saying it will help it compete even better in the fast-growing cybersecurity market.
The Jefferies price target for the stock is $85. The Thomson/First Call consensus estimate is set at $85.53. Shares closed Thursday at $81.20.
This mega-cap tech stock that the Jefferies analysts favor has 57.8% international business, and the stock is trading at levels that may offer long-term investors a solid entry point. The company posted solid but not spectacular fourth-quarter results that were good enough to lift it off a 52-week low.
The company recently announced a partnership with Lending Club the world’s largest online marketplace, connecting borrowers and investors to facilitate low-interest financing to eligible Google partners. The program leverages Lending Club’s ability to provide access to credit in a highly automated, cost-efficient manner, and it allows Google to purchase the loans, thus investing its own capital in its partner network to drive business growth. Lending Club will service the loans.
The Jefferies price target for the search colossus is posted at a whopping $660.The consensus figure is posted at $645. Google closed Thursday at $542.87.
Priceline does a whopping 73.9% international business, and it is one of the highest rated Internet stocks on Wall Street, with a strong 4.7 rating out of 5 by all analysts covering the stock. The online booking service posted outstanding earnings this week, with revenue of $1.84 billion in the period, which topped Street forecasts of $1.8 billion, and added $3 billion to the company stock buy-back program. The stock has had a rough start to 2015, down over 1.5% and should get back on a more firm footing after the solid earnings report.
The company’s products include Booking.com, which provides online hotel reservation services on a worldwide basis, with approximately 425,000 properties in 190 countries and territories available in 42 languages. Others include Agoda.com, an Asia-based online hotel reservation service available in 38 languages, and rentalcars.com, which offers car rental services in approximately 6,000 locations worldwide.
Jefferies has a price target of $1,325, while the consensus target is $1,301.36. Shares close trading on Thursday at $1,218, up a huge 8.46%.
With a big 62.9% international exposure, this is another fast-rising tech name with a big buzz on Wall Street. The company’s QlikView Business Discovery platform lets people quickly bring data sources together to create dynamic visual applications that can be navigated and searched intuitively. QlikView uses Natural Analytics to reflect the way human curiosity searches and processes information, while delivering the enterprise manageability, governance and service offerings organizations require.
The company’s products helped retailers during the holiday season by providing them with timely and relevant information about inventory and stock, enabling purchasing managers to better anticipate demand and advise production teams.
The Jefferies price target is $39, and consensus target is posted at $33.28. Shares closed on Thursday at $31.16.
VMware has a 52.4% international exposure and is one of the table-pounding stocks to buy at Jefferies. Back-to-back mediocre earnings releases hit the stock, and the analysts feel it is poised to go much higher from here. The company is still a leader in cloud storage software, and its cloud computing service is a reasonably new offering for their customers.
The company’s vCloud Hybrid Service has not been designed or marketed as a standalone public cloud as of yet. Many Wall Street analysts believe that on a pricing basis it is one of the more expensive offerings. The ability to tie the software solutions in with public cloud service may be a huge winner in the future. Wall Street analysts maintain that if VMware can grow its channel partners to increase the adoption rate of NSX, the company can become more balanced and lessen its dependency on its virtualization business.
Investors can also indirectly own VMware by buying the stock of storage giant EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC). The company owns over 43 million shares of VMware stock. EMC closed Thursday at $28.72.
The Jefferies price target is an impressive $128, while the consensus target is $101.68. VMware closed Thursday at $84.68.
While not contrarian, the call by Jefferies to move to companies that have more international exposure makes sense. Investors can have that exposure, but still own companies that are primarily traded here. Most of the stock recommendations are suitable for more aggressive growth accounts.