Friday concluded the last trading day of August. The month saw the indices post their largest declines since May 2012. However, there were still pockets of strength in the market for the month. Technology provided numerous stocks that not only beat the overall market, but provided solid capital appreciation for the month. Here are three that bucked the sell-off, still look attractive and should have future gains in store.
Apple (AAPL) gained more than $30 during August building on its $50 a share gain in July. The key event for the giant in Cupertino this month will be the unveiling of its new version of its iconic iPhone franchise rumored to take place on September 10th. Early reviews on the new version of its smartphone will be critical for Apple to maintain its momentum of the last two months and after declining consistently since its high over $700 a share in September.
Other catalysts could include analyst upgrades or upward revisions to price targets like the recent hike from UBS that revised its target from $500 to $560 a share this week. More positive comments from China Mobile (CHL) about a possible distribution deal for its 600mm subscribers also could move the shares. Apple is not expensive at ~8x forward earnings once one subtracts its over $100B cash hoard. If the new iPhone garners good reviews, I think Apple can make it three months in a row of gains.
Avago Technologies (AVGO) rose some 4% during the month, ironically on comments that it is benefiting from the fact that its "two largest smartphone customers" (Apple and Samsung) are ramping next-gen platforms (the iPhone 5S/5C and Galaxy Note 3)." The company further stated that it expects its "content in both these platforms continue to improve substantially." The company will also ride Apple's sails provided its new iPhones are hits. Avago believes revenue will rise 12% to 15% Q/Q in Q4.
In addition to the company's positive guidance, the company also posted earnings late in August that easily beat on the top and the bottom lines. Earnings estimates for both FY2013 & FY2014 have moved up over the last week. Charter Equity raised its rating to "Strong Buy" from "Buy" last week and I would expect some further upgrades in early September on back of the company recent strong guidance. Analysts expect just under 20% revenue growth in FY2014. Finally, the stock sells for ~12.5x forward earnings and has over $1B in net cash on its balance sheet.
Data storage provider Brocade Communications (BRCD) also rode strong results and positive guidance to a winning month. The maker of Ethernet and storage area networking solutions advanced ~10% after reporting earnings that beat on the top and the bottom lines. The company also boosted forward guidance.
The shares are cheap at under 10x forward earnings which is in the bottom third of its five year valuation ranged based on that metric. The company now has beat bottom line expectations for 12 straight quarters. Brocade has a strong balance sheet and over $350mm on its current stock repurchase program. At current stock prices, that authorization would retire more than 10% of outstanding float.