One sector that has been driving overall market gains over the last year is technology, and some of the biggest gainers have been the FANG stocks, many of which have pushed to all-time highs. So the conundrum for technology investors is which way to go: Stay with the momentum leaders, or switch to stocks that offer better value, and in some cases dividends, but that may not have the parabolic upside potential.
A new report from Savita Subramanian, the outstanding Equity and Quant Strategist at Merrill Lynch, notes that while the tech trade is crowded, the overall sector remains cheap versus historical levels on relative forward price to earnings basis. However she does note that on enterprise value to sales, technology stocks are trading 50% above average and at its highest relative multiple since the tech bubble.
We decided to screen the Merrill Lynch technology research database for stocks that were rated Buy, paid dividends and were not trading at sky-high multiples. We found four that could be outstanding buys now.
This is the printer and personal computer businesses of the old Hewlett-Packard. HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) provides products, technologies, software, solutions and services to individual consumers and small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as to the government, health and education sectors worldwide.
The company’s Personal Systems segment offers commercial personal computers (PCs), consumer PCs, workstations, thin client PCs, tablets, retail point-of-sale systems, calculators and other related accessories, software, support and services for the commercial and consumer markets.
The Printing segment provides consumer and commercial printer hardware, supplies, media, scanning device and software and services, as well as LaserJet and enterprise, inkjet and printing, graphics, and software and web services.
HP investors receive a 2.9% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target for the stock is $22, and the Wall Street consensus estimate is $20.68. The shares closed trading Thursday at $18.28.
This blue chip tech giant has had a solid rebound over the past year and still offers good upside. International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) is a leading provider of enterprise solutions, offering a broad portfolio of information technology (IT) hardware, business and IT services, and a full suite of software solutions. The company integrates its hardware products with its software and services offerings in order to provide high value solutions.
IBM is comprised of five major segments: 1) Cognitive Solutions, 2) Global Business Services, 3) Technology Services & Cloud Platforms, 4) Systems and 5) Global Financing. The analysts cite the company’s potential in the public cloud as a reason for raising their price objective.
IBM shareholders receive a 3.9% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $200 price target, while the consensus target is $165.07. The shares closed Thursday at $152.10.
This leader in semiconductors is working hard to scale away from dependence on personal computers, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is a big part of the shift. 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.
Earlier this year, Intel announced the purchase of Mobileye for $15.3 billion. The Israel sensor company gives the chip giant a leg up in the autonomous car competition, and it also adds many other capabilities. While some say the valuation paid is high, the dividends down the road could be worth the price.
Intel investors receive a 3.0% dividend. The $42 Merrill Lynch price objective compares with the consensus target price of $39.90. The stock closed on Thursday at $36.48.
This top technology stock was hit hard earlier this year and is still offering investors a great entry point. Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) designs, develops and supplies semiconductors and collects royalties on wireless handheld devices and infrastructure based on its dominant position in CDMA and other related technology patents.
In addition, Qualcomm provides systems software and components to wireless handset vendors and promotes applications and services that run on high-speed wireless networks. The company operates primarily through two segments: CDMA Technologies and Technology Licensing.
Merrill Lynch remains bullish on the company’s acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, which Qualcomm is buying in an all-cash deal at $110 per share. The deal is expected to close at the end of 2017 and should be immediately accretive to earnings. The merger brings together complementary products for mobile, automotive, IoT and networking applications.
Shareholders receive a 3.92% dividend. The Merrill Lynch price target is $66. The posted consensus target is $61.27, and shares closed Thursday at $58.12.
These four solid companies pay good dividends and have the staying power for investors. Given the market’s big run, it still may make sense to scale buy shares over a three- to six-month period to hopefully grab some shares at lower levels.