Massive Cloud Growth Has Top Analyst Bullish on Large-Cap Tech

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It’s been going on for some time, and many on Wall Street see it continuing. Technology has been the leading sector in the markets, and there is little reason to think that comes to an end anytime soon despite the Monday sell-off. After all, the United States is the global leader in the sector, with many of the top companies based in Silicon Valley area near San Francisco. With demand and innovation continuing to explode, there is little reason to sell the sector now.

A new report from Kash Rangan, the outstanding software analyst at Merrill Lynch, indicates that, after reviewing the firm’s survey data, he expects a total addressable market for the public cloud of a stunning $155 billion by 2023. He also expects a compound annual growth rate to be at 27% to 29%, which represents phenomenal growth.

Six large-cap tech leaders look to benefit from this incredible demand and growth, and all are rated Buy at Merrill Lynch.

Alphabet

The search giant continues to expand and is even working on a driverless car now. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is a global technology company focused on key areas, such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, enterprise and hardware products. It generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising and by selling apps and contents on Google Play, as well as hardware products. The company provides its products and services in more than 100 languages and in 190 countries, regions and territories.

Alphabet offers performance and brand advertising services. It operates through Google and Other Bets segments. The Google segment includes principal internet products, such as Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Apps, Cloud, Android, Chrome and Google Play, as well as technical infrastructure and newer efforts, such as virtual reality.

Fourth-quarter results raised concerns on Wall Street around margin compression. However, top-line outperformance continued, with 24% revenue growth, and incredibly Google Cloud is now at a $4 billion run rate.

The Merrill Lynch price target for the shares is $1,360, and the Wall Street consensus estimate is $1,280.93. Shares closed Monday at $1,100.07.

Amazon

This absolute leader in online retail and dominant player in cloud storage business remains a top pick at Merrill Lynch. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) serves consumers through retail websites that primarily include merchandise and content purchased for resale from vendors and those offered by third-party sellers.

The company serves developers and enterprises through Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides computing, storage, database, analytics, applications and deployment services that enable virtually various businesses. AWS is also the undisputed leader in the cloud now, and many top analysts see the company expanding and moving up the enterprise information value chain and targeting a larger total addressable market.

Merrill Lynch has a $1,650 price target, and the consensus target is $1,670.66. Shares closed Monday at $1,544.93.

IBM

This blue chip leader has rallied but still may be offering investors among the best entry point in years. 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’s five major segments are: 1) Cognitive Solutions, 2) Global Business Services, 3) Technology Services & Cloud Platforms, 4) Systems and 5) Global Financing. Analysts cite the company’s potential in the public cloud as a reason for their positive outlook going forward.

IBM posted better than expected fourth-quarter results, and for the first time in 22 consecutive quarters, revenue declining on a year-over-year basis has ended. Now that streak has finally ended, it looks like a positive sign as the company faces competition from faster-growing companies.

IBM shareholders receive a 3.81% dividend. The $200 Merrill Lynch price target compares with a $170.75 consensus target. Shares closed Monday at $157.35.