With the Nasdaq up 5.32% already this year, and the technology sector up 8.87%, there is already a buzz within the financial media, both televised and on websites, that we are poised to have another bubble burst like the one in 2000. The constant crowing about Nasdaq 5,000 and the former dot-com bubble is starting to make some investors uneasy. The real question is should they be?
A new research report from the information technology (IT) hardware team at UBS examines the movements between the subsectors of technology to pinpoint what is working and what is breaking down. What caught our eye was the adjusted price to earnings (P/E) numbers posted for 2014 and 2015 estimates. Three of the firm’s four top IT hardware stocks are actually trading cheaper on a 2015 P/E basis than 2014: Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC).
The stock is estimated to trade at 25 times adjusted P/E in 2015, versus 28 times in 2014. The company is one of the leading providers of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications.
About half of Akamai’s revenues are from Media Delivery (delivery of content over the Internet) using the company’s 135,000 server global edge network and software, for which demand is driven by video delivery and software downloads. Akamai is the leading provider of website optimization and acceleration services to e-commerce companies, a key reason for making the UBS list.
The UBS price target for Akamai stock, which is rated Buy, is set at $74. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $74.44. The stock ended Friday’s trading session at $69.51 a share.
The stock is trading at 14.7 times estimated adjusted 2015 P/E, versus 17.6 times 2014. The company was reinitiated with an Outperform rating at UBS in January, and it has been rampaging every price target in its sights since. The company absolutely crushed earnings estimates when it reported back in January, and it continues hitting on all cylinders.
With huge sales of both iPhone 6 models, the iconic Silicon Valley firm has traded in spectacular fashion since. The UBS analysts say flat out that, since the first introduction of the iPhone, the company has transformed the world of mobility and totally remorphed as a company. They point to what remains a very strong product cycle story, and basically call Apple the best-in-class technology story.
Apple Pay also appears to be off to a solid start and likely also will generate its own high-margin revenue stream and be a source of solid recurring revenue, a key e-commerce point. With a huge $145 billion stockpile of cash, the UBS analysts expect new capital allocations strategies, and see the new Apple Pay as a source of solid recurring revenue.
Apple investors are paid a 1.5% dividend. The UBS price target for the stock is set at $133. The consensus target is higher at $134.61. The shares closed trading Friday at $128.46.
The stock is trading at 14.5 estimated adjusted 2015 earnings, versus 15.1 for 2014, and the company is the leader in storage, and the constant increase in data makes the stock a core holding for technology investors. EMC missed revenue estimates for the fourth quarter and just squeaked by on the bottom line, beating estimates by a penny.
With the company expected to buy back $3 billion of stock in 2015, and the lower VMware numbers baked into future calculations, now may be a good time to add share of this outstanding technology stock. EMC owns 80% of the cloud software company, and activist investors have urged a spin-off.
EMC investors are paid a 1.6% dividend. The UBS price target for the tech giant is $31, and the consensus target is posted at $30.74. EMC closed Friday at $28.94 a share.
Any way you look at it, trading at an overall 16 times earnings, the current stock market is rich at this level. Investors with new cash to deploy may want to scale some money into these top stocks to buy and wait for what should be an inevitable spring pullback.