What follows is a list of three different technology companies with various degrees of upside. They cover a variety of different industries: semiconductors, software, and services. Ultimately, I am most bullish on CA due to its favorable risk/reward. While its high dividend yield and aggressive share buybacks limit downside, rising data growth and cloud computing boost upside. Taiwan Semiconductor is attractive, but it is nearing its 52-week high and has faced considerable earnings uncertainty. Lastly, IBM is much too slow of a growth company for my tastes and does not have too have an upside given its maturity.
Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM)
TSM trades at a respective 16x and 12.8x past and forward earnings with a dividend yield of 3.4%. Consensus estimates forecast TSM's EPS growing by 23.9% to $1.09 in 2012 and then by 8.3% and 20.3% in the following two years. Assuming a multiple of 16x and a conservative 2013 EPS of $1.15, the stock would hit $18.40 for 22% upside.
The semiconductor firm has suffered from lower demand across its markets, but has been recovering back to its 52-week high. TSM has a leading founding that is nevertheless well positioned to benefit from strong secular trends in technology. The company's emerging market focus further hedges against domestic uncertainty. According to NASDAQ, the stock is rated around a "hold". I share this sentiment.
CA trades at a respective 13.7x and 9.6x past and forward earnings with a dividend yield of 3.8%. Consensus estimates for CA's EPS forecast are that it will grow by 11.4% to $2.15 in 2012, and then by 8.4% and 4.3% more in the following two years. Assuming a multiple of 14x and a conservative 2013 EPS of $2.39, the rough intrinsic value of the stock is $33.46, implying 28.2% upside.
CA is near its 52-week high and is up 22% over the last six months. With that said, the stock has started to decline meaningfully since late March. For FY2011, revenue and operational cash flow both grew 9%. Management further initiated a $500M share repurchase program, which optimally complements the software firm's high dividend yield. Ultimately, this showcases confidence over free cash flow sustainability.
IBM trades at a respective 14.9x and 12x past and forward earnings with a dividend yield of 1.7%. Consensus estimates for IBM's EPS forecast that it will grow by 11.2% to $14.94 in 2012 and then by 10.4% and 8.1% in the following two years. Assuming a multiple of 14x and a conservative 2013 EPS of $16.23, the stock would hit $227.22 for 13.9% upside.
Regardless of what Warren Buffett, many Seeking Alpha contributors have been outspoken about the firm not being a value play. In my view, the firm is overly mature and will underperform its more innovative tech peers. IBM provides services, but the business likely faces more competition than what the market acknowledges. Accordingly, I rate it a "hold".
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.