Technology stocks have traditionally performed well in times of economic crisis, partly because they deal with a wide range of diverse products that are comprehensively distributed across international markets. In this article, I will discuss five such stocks that have shown greater resilience against predominantly negative market conditions in the last five quarters. I have chosen these five stocks for my research, because they have exceeded projected revenue growth, declared high dividends, introduced new market innovations, announced new acquisitions deals and fared reasonably well overall in the last few quarters.
Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM)
Akamai Technologies is the leading cloud platform for helping enterprises secure high-performing user experiences on any device, anywhere. With headquarters in Massachusetts, the company provides its service to companies that have content on the internet. The company has recorded positive growth levels in the last 3 quarters, especially in the third quarter of 2011, during which it reported revenue of nearly $282 million. Compared to the revenue figures for the same quarter in the previous year, the company has seen an increase of nearly 11 percent. Akamai technologies continued its good run in the market, with $277 million in revenues in the final quarter. Currently, the company has huge global investments, with a market capitalization of nearly $7 billion and average trading volume exceeding $4.5 million. Trading prices of stock have recently been poised at $38 after sluggish market activity led them to plummet to as low as $18. The company has traditionally maintained a fairly decent dividend history and a good dividend payout ratio, and yield has attracted favorable investor sentiment, particularly over the first quarter of 2012. Recently, Akamai shares jumped by nearly 11% on the standard & Poor 500 Rating, and the company's exceptional performance in Q4 of 2011, which exceeded projected growth levels, has allowed Akamai to perform well so far in 2012. I rate this stock as a must-buy in the year 2012.
After enjoying nearly 5 years at the top of the mobile market, Nokia has finally been ousted by leading smartphone technology providers Apple (AAPL) - iPhone 5) and Google (GOOG) - Androids blitzkrieg. With a range of unimpressive new products and declining market shares in Asia, Europe and South America, Nokia has recently been caught in the middle of cutthroat competition, with all the leading market players getting the better of it. However, the Finnish smartphone manufacturer seems to have learned its lesson just in time. Nokia has responded fast with a radically overhauled product range to appeal to the changing taste and requirements of the market. Nokia has started 2012 well with impressive sales and decent growth driven by the company's most recent product launches, the Windows 8 powered Lumia series. And yet, the company stands as strong as ever in terms of finance, with a massive current market capitalization exceeding $22 billion, quarterly revenues of nearly $835 million, and a competitive moat of C+. For the last 52 weeks, the trading price of stock has fluctuated between $5 and $12. The current trading price of stock is around $6 per share. Nokia has a price to earnings ratio of nearly 6 and earnings per share are close to $3. With a yield of approximately 7.50%, Nokia has a dividend payout ratio of nearly 110. With a wide range of surprises in store for customers, Nokia has a lot of potential for growth this year, especially in the last two quarters. I believe that Nokia will continue to grow at a steady rate this year amidst encouraging market conditions and favorable investor sentiment.
Juniper networks Inc. (JNPR)
Juniper Networks is an IT and computer networking solutions provider headquartered in California. The company designs and sells high-performance Internet Protocol network products and services. After a rather slow run last year, Juniper has finally betrayed strong signs of growth, with an impressive performance in the first month of 2012. The start of the new year saw Juniper stocks grow by as much as 43% amid aggressive trading and favorable market conditions. However, the stock lost its momentum by the end of the month, recording a slump of nearly 9% to end among some of the biggest losers on the Standard & Poor 500 Index. However, the industry's highest performing access solution has recently announced introducing a "Universal Access Solution," which is said to improve reliability and profitability of global mobile networks. This means that, although the stocks are currently down, the company has a lot of potential for growth once it has finally introduced the new technology. Juniper currently has a market capitalization of nearly $12 billion, with an average trading volume of almost $11 million. The company paid out sizable dividends in the last quarter of 2011, which has allowed it favorable investor sentiment in the market. Currently, trading price of shares is around $24, although the stocks plummeted to nearly $16 in the third quarter of 2011. Juniper has staged a quick recovery, and is expected to continue its steady drive toward growth in the first quarter of 2011. Judging from past financial indicators and stock performance in recent quarters, I believe the company has the capacity to stretch its growth levels and increase overall profitability. Therefore, I rank Juniper as a lucrative investment option for 2012.
LinkedIn Corp. (LNKD)
LinkedIn had a favorable run in 2011 with revenues earned in the second quarter exceeding projected target of $120 million. Almost 70% (US $83 million) of these revenues were from US markets, while 32% (US $38 million) was earned in revenues from emerging international markets. With the start of the new year, the stock has outperformed other tech stocks by maintaining steady upward movement amid positive market sentiment. LinkedIn currently has a market capitalization of almost $9 billion, with an average trading volume exceeding $2 million. With a price to earnings ratio of more than 540, the company pays nearly 40c in dividends on earnings per share of roughly $.02. Trading price of the stock is currently $92, although the stock shortly slumped to nearly $55 in the second quarter of 2011 amid sluggish market activity. LinkedIn recently announced quarterly earnings doubling its subscribers in a year and beating analyst revenue estimates. Judging from last year's financial performance, 115% growth ($522 million), net income of $12 million, earnings per share of $0.13 per share, the company seems to be in a good position to maximize growth levels and end the current quarter on a positive note.
Groupon's stock showed a mixed performance in the previous year, with an impressive run in the third quarter and a marginal loss in the fourth, which caused its shares to fall by nearly 14%. However, if the entire year of 2011 is taken into perspective, the company earned impressive revenues of nearly $510 million, which far exceeded the expectations of financial analysts. Compared to revenues generated in the previous year, Groupon reported a massive growth of nearly 194%. The company has managed to use these financial figures to its advantage to attract favorable investor sentiment in the market in the opening month of this year. With a current market capitalization exceeding $12 billion, Groupon has average trading volume of nearly $2.5 million. The trading price of the stock is ideally placed at $20 after a short stint where it slumped to almost $14 a share. The recent launch of the new promotional marketing instrument called "Clicky," The Clickable Value-Wheel," is aimed at driving growth and expanding market share. Groupon has recently focused its acquisitions strategies to purchasing tech start-ups in a bid to enhance user engagement. Groupon has performed well so far, and I expect that with favorable market conditions prevalent in the market lately, the business has the capacity to achieve higher levels of growth and increase its revenues.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.