Technology

4 Top Data Networking Stocks to Buy for the Rest of 2015

While technology has had a very solid year so far, up 6.45%, trailing only health care, some stocks in the sector have turned in very mixed performances. In a new report, Deutsche Bank analysts say that communication equipment is not a sector trade, and stock selection is critical for investment success going forward.

The Deutsche Bank team is focused on the stocks heavily involved in the themes of next generation security, cloud build-outs and the massive spending for Web.2 portals. The analysts are especially bullish on four top companies that should be big benefactors.

Akamai Technologies

This is one of the leading providers of cloud services for delivering, optimizing and securing online content and business applications. About half of Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) 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.

The Deutsche Bank team recently upgraded the stock from Hold to Buy, as they feel expectations have been reset for the company. They viewed the short sell-off in the shares after earnings as providing investors a good entry point, as cloud security and optimization is a huge opportunity and Akamai is a leader.

The Deutsche Bank price target for the stock is $79. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is $73.89. Shares closed Monday at $77.94.

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Cisco Systems

This stock trades at a very low 13.8 times estimated 2015 earnings. Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) boasts an outstanding 7.44% free cash flow yield. The networking giant also seems to have fought through numerous headwinds, including up and down demand from telecom carriers, weakness in emerging markets and threats to its very lucrative switching business, and it delivered another solid quarter of earnings last week. The company also stands to benefit from a better corporate spending environment in Europe, as well as continued growth at home.

Cisco recently won an important contract for the Verizon build-out of the company’s next-generation 100G metro network. While Cisco’s optical business is small as a part of total revenue, this win is seen by Wall Street as a significant endorsement of the investments Cisco has made into its optics business.

After 20 year of leading the Silicon Valley giant, John Chambers recently announced that Chuck Robbins will become the next chief executive of the world’s biggest networking equipment company when he steps down as CEO, a move that should keep things going smoothly.

Cisco shareholders are paid a 2.9% dividend. The Deutsche Bank price target is $33, and the consensus target is $31.03. Shares closed Monday at $29.76.

CommScope

CommScope Holding Co. Inc. (NASDAQ: COMM) provides connectivity and infrastructure solutions for wireless, business enterprise and residential broadband networks in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific, Central and Latin America, and Canada. The company operates in three segments: Wireless, Enterprise, and Broadband. The company’s network infrastructure solutions help customers increase bandwidth, maximize existing capacity, improve network performance and availability, increase energy efficiency and simplify technology migration.

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Last month the company was granted early termination of the waiting period under Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, in connection with the previously announced agreement to acquire TE Connectivity’s Telecom, Enterprise and Wireless businesses. This is an acquisition the Deutsche Bank team is positive about, and they also note that the company has noted strength in the data center build-out business.

While the Deutsche Bank price target is $35, the consensus target is $34.06. Shares closed Monday at $31.33.

Infinera

This is another solid play for investors in data networking. Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ: INFN) provides Intelligent Transport Networks for network operators, enabling reliable, easy to operate, high-capacity optical networks. Infinera leverages its unique large-scale photonic integrated circuits to deliver innovative optical networking solutions for the most demanding network environments. Intelligent Transport Networks enable carriers, cloud network operators, governments and enterprises to automate, converge and scale their data center, metro, long-haul and subsea optical networks.

The Deutsche Bank team noted the stock’s outperformance this year to peers and attributed the strength to exposure to faster-growing Web 2.0 and cloud 100G+ optical interconnect markets.

The Deutsche Bank price target is $25, and the consensus is at $24.28. The stock closed most recently at $20.27.

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This is a growing arena, and sticking with the top stocks may prove to be a winning trade for aggressive growth portfolios. The Deutsche Bank top picks are all excellent choices.