One thing that seems to be in consensus at the Wall Street firms we cover here at 24/7 Wall St. is that technology is a sector that should be a leader for the rest of 2015, and with good reason. New products, lighting fast innovation and consumer demand keeps the sales cycle strong, and the top companies are there to meet the demand. Credit Suisse recently released its Top Picks list of stocks to buy, and the six tech stocks that are the number one picks are outstanding portfolio additions.
The Credit Suisse report has three stock picks from every technology analyst. We selected the top pick from each analyst, which are: Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), Lam Research Corp. (NASDAQ: LRCX), Micron Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MU), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Synchronoss Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: SNCR) and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW).
Facebook remains the 800-pound gorilla of social media, and a challenger seems nowhere in sight. The stock has been on fire over the past year and it doesn’t look to be slowing down. The revenue gain over the past year was an astounding 54.69%, and the stock comes in as the top Internet pick at Credit Suisse.
With Instagram, Premium video and Graph Search capabilities, the analysts feel that the company can drive revenue growth, even without a huge increase in advertising placement. They also think Wall Street models are conservative and do not account for additional revenue silos.
The Credit Suisse price target for the stock is $104. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is lower at $92.57. The stock closed on Monday at $82.44 a share.
This top chip equipment stock also makes the Top Picks list at Credit Suisse. Lam Research designs, manufactures, markets, refurbishes and services semiconductor processing equipment used in the fabrication of integrated circuits. The company offers plasma-etch products that remove materials from the wafer to create the features and patterns of a device.
Many Wall Street analysts have highlighted the company and its peers as having a significant equipment opportunity from the NAND evolution as well. Lam Research also appears well-positioned to gain share in the wafer fab equipment market, driven by a strong focus on technology inflection spending over the next few years.
The Credit Suisse team is positive on the stock, and see increasing SAM opportunities in addition to the 3D NAND and DRAM. Other Wall Street analysts feel that Lam’s higher exposure to memory chip customers, which has historically been approximately 56% of the total, could help the company offset any potential near-term foundry order pause.
Lam Research investors are paid a 1% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target is posted at $102, and the consensus target is higher at $91.10. The stock closed most recently at $72.35.
Micron Technology took a risk holding inventory, and it may turn out to be the best play for investors. The company recently posted strong earnings, but the forward guidance was less than Wall Street was looking for, and most analysts have lowered estimates for the rest of 2015. Many believe this is one of the top chip stocks to hold in a portfolio, and Credit Suisse feels that the company has earnings potential of as much as $5 per share.
The Credit Suisse analysts mention the overall supply discipline, strong demand and growth for DRAM, especially for in-memory and handsets, and the “free option” on the NAND business and growth.
Recently Micron and partner Intel announced the availability of their 3D NAND technology, the world’s highest density flash technology used in laptops, data centers, tablets and mobile phones. With more storage in a smaller space, the 3D NAND technology offers significant cost savings, low power usage and high performance for a range of mobile consumer devices, as well as the most demanding enterprise applications.
The Credit Suisse price objective for the stock is posted at an incredible $50, and the consensus is much lower at $39.63. The stock closed Monday at $27.43.
This former mega-cap European stock leader completed the sale of its handset business to Microsoft in April of last year for what was considered a low €5.5 billion. Even though it was selling a business representing half of its sales, and some analysts howled at the price, the company has started to fight back on its own with new products based on the Android platform, and some on Wall Street see the weakened euro as a tailwind for the company.
The Credit Suisse analysts have the stock as the top pick in the tech hardware/telecom equipment arena, and they think the sale to Microsoft helps the firm unlock the value of the many patents it holds. In fact, they feel the patents may have strategic importance to tech vendors like Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm and could attract a bid. Given the stable cash flow generation going forward, Nokia’s capital return plan can be another catalyst.
The Credit Suisse price target is $8, but the consensus target is higher at $9.41. Shares closed trading Monday at $7.80.
This company is the top small/mid-cap software technology pick at Credit Suisse. It provides software-based activation and personal cloud solutions for connected devices. The company is considered one of the mobile innovation leaders that provide cloud solutions and software-based activation for connected devices across the globe. The proven and scalable technology solutions allow customers to connect, synchronize and activate connected devices and services that empower enterprises and consumers.
The analysts view Synchronoss products as increasingly important for wireless carriers to exert leverage against handset OEMs by enabling cross-platform data synchronization among devices that were designed to not interoperate. With multiple revenue streams, it is an outstanding smaller capitalization play.
Credit Suisse has a $60 price target, and the consensus estimate comes in lower at $55.89. Shares closed Monday at $46.79.
VMware is a top stock to buy on Wall Street, and the top software pick at Credit Suisse. Back-to-back mediocre earnings releases hit the stock earlier this year, despite the fact that the company is still a leader in cloud storage software, and its cloud computing service is a new offering for its customers. The company recently announced lowered pricing for cloud computing and self-service, pay-as-you-go options for public cloud. The company touts that the vCloud Air product delivers two times the compute power of Microsoft Azure and three times the storage performance of Amazon AWS.
The Credit Suisse team cites the belief that VMware is well positioned to leverage what they term as the “strategic high ground” of the hypervisor to dominate the emerging markets for the software-defined networking and software-defined storage. They also expect new solutions to help drive earnings growth, especially in the second half of 2015.
The Credit Suisse price target is a gigantic $130, and the consensus target is much lower at $95.75. The stock closed trading on Monday at $83.40.
The Credit Suisse top technology stocks are all potential leaders in their various industries. They are also much cheaper today than in the recent past. Aggressive investors could buy partial positions in front of first-quarter earnings reports and see how things go.