Merrill Lynch Has 4 Old-School Dividend Tech Stocks to Buy in Volatile Markets

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While younger investors probably would snicker some at the thought of adding the large cap old-school technology stocks to a portfolio, there are two huge reasons to consider them, especially with the volatile, roller-coaster market we are in now. The first reason is they have already stood the test of time, many 30 years or more. Secondly, the pay dividends and have increased them on a regular basis.

We screened the Merrill Lynch technology research universe looking to find large cap, old-school technology companies rated Buy at the firm that also paid solid dividends. We found four companies for investors to consider buying now.

Apple

This remains the world’s biggest and boldest technology company, and its stock is down a stunning 28% from highs posted in the spring of 2015. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) evolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Apple’s four software platforms provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services, including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud.

While the company posted earnings numbers that beat fourth-quarter estimates, it missed on almost every other metric, most importantly on product sales, which came in under the 75 million units estimated for iPhone sales.

Top analysts note that many Apple suppliers did indeed pre-announce negative earnings, and they think there is potential risk to the estimates for the March quarter. Most remain comfortable with estimates for 45 million iPhones, and while the March quarter chatter could remain an issue, the long-term story remains in place, and should work well through the balance of 2016 and beyond.

This past week, new reports suggested that Taiwan Semiconductor will produce the next-generation system-on-chip design destined to power this year’s iPhone hardware refresh, beating out longtime Apple partner Samsung.

Apple investors receive a 2.22% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is $130, and the Thomson/First Call consensus target is $136.18. The shares closed Thursday at $93.70.


Cisco

This is one of the top mega-cap technology stock picks on Wall Street and perhaps a surprising defensive pick for volatile markets like we have witnessed. Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) posted outstanding numbers this week, and many firms on Wall Street are raising their price targets for the networking giant. Cisco is also one of the 24/7 Wall St. top 10 stocks to own for the next decade.

Last year Cisco 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. Many top Wall Street analysts see the data center refresh as a big positive for the company.

Analysts across Wall Street point to an estimated double-digit bookings momentum for Cisco’s Meraki Cloud Services. Many think that Meraki likely will be a $1 billion plus run-rate business this year, with an incredible 50% to 70% compounded annual growth rate. A jump from 40 GE to 100 GE data center switching and next generation security are also adding to the total sales profile and product mix. Some analysts attribute this and other silos away from Cisco’s core routers and switches as the reason for the solid earnings beat.

Cisco investors receive a 3.4% dividend. The $27 Merrill Lynch price target is lower than the consensus estimate of $29.90. The shares closed most recently at $24.68, up over 9% on the day.