Now that the U.S. presidential election is past - and a potential fiscal cliff looms ahead - the markets have done their fair share of back and forth movement. Yet, while there may still be a great deal of volatility in the financial markets today, I feel that large cap stocks, and especially those in the tech industry, still have a lot to offer investors in terms of both income and growth. Below, I will discuss why owning shares of companies such as Yahoo! (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT) can potentially provide investors with the proverbial best of both worlds.
Over the past few years, many investors have stayed away from shares of Microsoft, feeling that the company was overvalued. However lately, as customers become armed with numerous devices such as tablets and smart phones, Microsoft has been pushing its numerous products such as Microsoft Office that are synced and therefore allow customers to utilize most (or all) of their systems in a much more unified manner.
With a gigantic market capitalization of over $238 billion, Microsoft is estimated to continue making great strides in its products - which in turn may offer solid value for its investors. For instance, the release of its new Microsoft Windows 8 is anticipated to be much more successful than some of the company's past products (i.e., Vista) in that this will further entrench its users into synchronization with many of their various electronic devices.
In addition, other Microsoft products such as SharePoint, are also helping to move the company's balance sheet into higher territory. SharePoint has, in fact, become one of the company's most popular business products ever - growing to more than $2 billion in adjusted annual revenue for Microsoft. One reason for this is its vast - and growing - community of developers, partners, and customers. Because of this, the product not only offers innovation today, but is also laying the foundation for even more updated future enhancements that will further lock-in its customer base.
The company's earnings per share stand at just below 1.9, with a P/E ratio of 15.31. Currently, those who own shares of Microsoft receive a dividend of 0.92 per share, which equates to an annual dividend yield of 3.20%. Along with this steady income, investors can also anticipate Microsoft's shares to offer a nice amount of growth, as these shares are estimated to rise by approximately 25% over the next 12 months.
Another biggie in the tech industry is Yahoo!. With a core business that has essentially been struggling for several years, Yahoo! has done a great job of keeping itself afloat with new product and services offerings - which could provide investors with nice share value over time.
The company's relatively new CEO Marissa Mayer has been making an attempt to turn the company around - although she has run into a few troubles along the way. Recently, the Yahoo! fantasy football site - one of the firm's top properties - was down on a crucial day, potentially costing users and Yahoo! itself a fair amount of revenue as fantasy football has become big business for the players themselves, as well as for the site in terms of traffic.
One of Yahoo's major come back strategies includes its mobile webpage. Although it is currently in need of work, this "Project Home Run" consists of an almost completely redesigned Yahoo! homepage that is similar in its design to Microsoft's Windows 8. One of the most notable features of the site is that there is no large ad module on the page top.
As Yahoo! typically receives an average of 170 million visitors per day, this lack of advertising could have a significant financial impact on the company - however, with the firm's new mission to become predominantly a mobile company, things could soon be turned around - especially as Mayer is well respected in Silicon Valley and may have some even more aggressive strategies up her sleeve for Yahoo! in the near future. As far as investors are concerned, although Yahoo! does not offer a current dividend, the shares are anticipated to grow over the next 12 months by over 7%.
While companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo continue to push forward with new product offerings for the masses, there are other smaller up-and-comers that are providing invaluable services to their own customers - and are beginning to gain both national and international exposure as they serve multiple types of highly focused clientele.
Take, for example, Via Studios. With both U.S. and U.K. locations, this thriving company offers website design and other types of mobile apps that help in connecting small and large businesses with their customers. By specializing in certain areas such as post production that integrates clients' websites with existing video asset systems, as well as providing an online music industry contact directory and career guide for emerging musical artists and banks, Via Studios has helped itself to stand out from its competitors and gain a great deal of recognition - and clients.
Although stocks have taken a dip due to angst about the potential upcoming fiscal cliff, the falling of certain companies' shares has actually allowed these firms to offer even more value to their stockholders by way of larger dividend yields and the potential for double digit growth.
Given the positive outlook for both Microsoft and Yahoo, I feel that either or both of these solid companies would be a nice growth generator for most any investors' portfolio for both short and long-term gains.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.