With the market busting through a top that has been in place since February of 2015, some of the more bullish voices on Wall Street think it’s possible we could see a big breakout. While that is indeed possible, earnings have to start coming in strong, not only for the second quarter, but for the rest of the year. In addition, guidance from companies will need to be very positive to keep the current momentum in place.
In a recent research report, Merrill Lynch does what many of the top firms will be forced to do in a rising market. The firm is raising the price targets on some of the top stocks it covers, as the recent rally has pushed some right up near current price target levels. This week the firm raised the price targets on four top technology companies, all of which are outstanding buys for aggressive accounts.
This leader in semiconductors is working hard to scale away from dependence on personal computers. Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) designs, manufactures and sells integrated digital technology platforms worldwide. The company’s platforms are used in various computing applications comprising notebooks, two-in-one systems, desktops, servers, tablets, smartphones, wireless and wired connectivity products, wearables, retail devices and manufacturing devices, as well as for retail, transportation, industrial, buildings, home use and other market segments.
The company also provides communication and connectivity offerings, such as baseband processors, radio frequency transceivers and power management integrated circuits, and tablet, phone and Internet of Things solutions, which include multimode 4G LTE modems, Bluetooth technology and GPS receivers, software solutions and interoperability tests, as well as home gateway and set-top box components.
Intel reported an inline first quarter, and lowered the forward outlook. Merrill Lynch stays positive on the company and believes there is solid upside potential for the stock. Some analysts think the restructuring can ultimately translate to $0.23 in annual earnings-per-share savings.
Intel investors receive a 3.03% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target rises to $40 from $36. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target for the stock is $35.20. Shares closed most recently at $34.38.
This company has been on a roll this year and hits all the metrics in the sector. Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) loves income tax time as its TurboTax product is one of the most widely used, and sales are expected to be very solid once again this year. It is also well-known for the QuickBooks line of accounting software, which is used by firms big and small. Intuit announced earlier this year it is launching QuickBooks Online Self-Employed, a new product that makes it easy for the rapidly expanding population of freelancers and independent contractors to handle small business accounting. The company estimates 43% of workers will be self-employed by 2020.
Intuit has served small businesses and accountants with QuickBooks for more than 20 years. It was an early innovator in cloud accounting when it first launched QuickBooks Online in 2001. The company recently announced that QuickBooks Online has more than a million paying subscribers, cementing its market leadership as small businesses shift to the cloud.
Intuit investors are paid a 1.05% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target goes from $108 to $128, and the consensus target is $108.94. The stock closed Monday at $115.63.