The company has been a frustrating stock for investors over the past few years, but it has been targeted regularly by short sellers and still grinds higher. Lexmark International Inc. (NYSE: LXK) has struggled some as the printing market has diversified, and smaller, more nimble competitors have jumped into the market. This has taken some market share away from its core business customer.
Lexmark’s recent $1 billion acquisition of Kofax immediately enhances Lexmark’s industry-leading enterprise content management and business process management offerings. In the capture technology field, the combination of Kofax’s smart process applications with Perceptive Intelligent Capture will create the broadest and deepest portfolio of capture solutions in the market, ranging from Web portals and mobile devices to smart multifunction printers.
As of May 15, some 5.6 million shares, or 10.4% of the free float of the stock, was sold short. Compounding the short sellers issues is the company pays a very solid 3.2% dividend, which they are responsible to pay when shorting the shares.
The consensus price target for the stock is $39. Lexmark has blown through that, closing on Friday at $45.
VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) was a top stock to buy on Wall Street until back-to-back mediocre earnings releases hit the stock. 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.
With a tremendous portfolio, and some of the industry’s top applications for cloud computing, the stock is probably one of the best technology buys out there for aggressive investors, and with 9.2 million, or 11% of the float, short as of May 15, any good news will be a killer for the short sellers.
The consensus price target for the stock is $96.10. Shares closed Friday at $89.45.
This is another stock that momentum traders have set sail on, and the volatility has been a roller-coaster for shareholders. Workday Inc. (NYSE: WDAY) is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. Workday delivers financial management, human capital management and analytics applications designed for the world’s largest companies, educational institutions and government agencies. Many Wall Street analysts feel that cloud has emerged as the future state for many large enterprises, a fact that should continue to broaden the channel of available business opportunities for Workday.
Despite reporting better-than-expected earnings, the company got drilled when total billings growth moderated to 31% in the quarter. Sales rose 57% from a year ago to $251 million, and the recent drubbing the stock has taken gives investors an outstanding entry point.
The short sellers may have had a victory here, but with 9.5 million, or 9%, short as of the middle of May, they may have taken their gains. Betting against this company for the long haul could be painful, as it is often the target of takeover chatter as well.
The consensus price objective for the stock is posted at $100.60. Shares closed Friday at $79.38.
Shorting stock is a dangerous game because in theory the downside is unlimited. Just ask those who have attempted to short Netflix. These are all solid tech companies that could be good additions to aggressive growth portfolios.
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