You know it the minute they answer the phone: somebody from halfway around the world is helping you to negotiate a billing problem or an installation issue with a newly purchased tech gadget, or perhaps explaining why your satellite service is not working. The bottom line is, no matter where they are, the demand for the services they provide continues to skyrocket.
A new report from the analysts at Cowen says that feedback they have received from the three largest offshore information technology (IT) services players suggests solid demand trends, based on current and pending deal pipeline activity and client discussions and spending intentions. That kind of positive data makes owning the top picks in the sector a solid idea for aggressive growth investors.
We screened the Cowen report for the firm’s current top picks and other Outperform-rated stocks with the highest upside. The four top companies are Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. (NASDAQ: CTSH), Computer Sciences Corp. (NYSE: CSC), EPAM Systems Inc. (NYSE: EPAM) and Infosys Ltd. (NYSE: INFY).
Cognizant Technology Solutions
The stock is rated as one of the two top picks in the sector at Cowen. The company provides IT consulting and business process outsourcing services worldwide. It operates through four segments: Financial Services; Healthcare; Manufacturing, Retail, and Logistics; and Other. Its services include IT strategy, program management, operations improvement, strategy and business consulting services.
Cognizant is based in the United States, but it primarily uses an offshore workforce in India. The company is well positioned for a variety of trends in IT services, and the analysts expect it to increase earnings well in excess of the industry average. The Cowen team feels the company’s solid investments will bode well for future business.
The Cowen price target for Cognizant is raised to $65 from $60. The Thomson/First Call consensus target is right in line at $65.19. The stock closed trading on Monday at $62.03 a share.
A shift in focus from infrastructure sales to more profitable software and services over the past two years is paying off. In 2013 the company purchased big-data rival Infochimps in an effort to expand its platform and revenues. While longer term the company still faces structural competitive challenges, near term the company has a solid book of business and management has taken steps, such as off-shoring, to reduce operating expenses.
While many on Wall Street still cast a wary eye on the company, this may be a good stock for aggressive accounts to buy now. With major state and federal government contracts, this old-school IT stock may be poised to grow.
Computer Science investors a paid a 1.35% dividend. The Cowen price target is posted at $75, and the consensus target is $66.23. Shares closed trading on Monday at $67.47.
This company primarily provides software product development services worldwide. It offers product research, design and prototyping, product development, component design and integration, full lifecycle software testing, product deployment and end-user customization, performance tuning, product support and maintenance, and porting and cross-platform migration.
The stock is the other Cowen top pick in the sector in the small cap arena. The analysts also believe that EPAM is one of the top new breed vendors with the largest social, mobility, analytics and cloud exposure, and it is one of the companies that may be best positioned to generate hyper-growth.
While the Cowen price target is $66, the consensus target is lower at $63.98. EPAM shares closed Monday at $61.69.
This global leader in consulting, technology and outsourcing solutions enables clients, in more than 30 countries, to stay a step ahead of emerging business trends and outperform the competition. It also helps clients transform their businesses and opportunities and thrive in a changing world by co-creating breakthrough solutions that combine strategic insights and execution excellence.
Infosys BPO is the business process outsourcing subsidiary of Infosys, which was set up in April 2002. Infosys BPO focuses on integrated end-to-end outsourcing and delivers transformational benefits to its clients through reduced costs and ongoing productivity improvements. The company recently announced a plan to open a new data center in Puerto Rico. The company has chosen a 12,000-square feet site in the northern municipality of Aguadilla, an aviation hub, to run its operations. It will leverage this new center to initially deliver complex order-to-cash business processes for clients in the aviation sector.
Infosys investors are paid a 1.6% dividend. The Cowen price target for this industry leader is $40, and the consensus target is $33.39. The stock closed Monday at $36.12 a share.
The demand for these services should only continue to skyrocket. Investors with aggressive growth accounts that lean to technology should consider adding this part of the sector to a well-rounded portfolio.