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The Big Pop: It's Time to Think Outside the Tech Box

|Includes: IMAX Corporation (IMAX)

"What's with the huge attraction to tech stocks?" this first-time investor once asked. One would figure that in the embarrassing aftermath of the big technology stock bubble pop of 2000-2001, we as investors would have learned that while advancing science and research to the point where we can create microscopic microchips is sexy and exciting, it's not necessarily something we know and understand well enough to invest in. And yet we do; by the billions, in fact.

The technology sector, a large market cornerstone of the global economy to which technology companies belong and are categorized, is as diverse as any other sector and comprises of more industries than the basic materials and utilities sectors. How many total companies make up the entire technology sector is anyone's guess, but the number has to almost surely be on the larger end of the hundred's. Trillions of dollars in revenues and expenditures, cash and profits flow in and out of these behemoth firms every year, and they're all apart of it: every brand and product from Apple and their iPhones to the companies that make the guts of the device; from the personal navigation systems sold by Garmin to the companies that design and build the sophisticated satellite communication systems floating around our atmosphere the GPS handheld depends on to function; even the healthcare industry has a present and powerful position in the tech sector with Cerner Coproation, a billion-dollar market capitalized medical device manufacturer. 

So how on Earth could anyone (much less the first-timer) ever even begin to decide what companies and stocks to target when he or she decides to get in on the tech game? Well, as always, it depends on your investment objectives and strategies. If you're looking for a quick buck, simply print out a list of all the publically-traded tech companies you can think of, tape them to the wall in your living room, take 7-8 steps back, and throw darts. Whatever stock the dart lands on is the one you go buy. You'll probably have better luck that way than ever tying to time a technology company using flaccid "buy" or "sell" technical indications but out by amateur internet stock gurus inundating Google advertisements. 

If your serious about buying a company that has great prospects for growth and consistent profits in the long-term, then read on. I didn't want to just do a list of tech companies and draw on about how great each of them are, so I decided to just pick one company, and even more interestingly, a company that is not in tech, but uses tech. A company that after years of research and development into their own proprietary technology, are finally on track to become the company loyal shareholders have been waiting for them to become.

Imax Corporation (ticker IMAX) The IMAX film format uses technology that increases the visual impact of a film or film media. The company uses expansively larger screens and a projection system that displays films much wider than the theatre industry standard. There is a long history of film producers and theatre owners to fulfill the movie-goers desire to be amazed and bedazzled, and many companies tried and failed to provide new products – until IMAX came along and secured patents to increase a films resolution and create screen that was much larger in size than their competitors. In 1967, the first IMAX film was shown at a film convention in Japan that demonstrated a screens ability to be so large that it actually covered a viewer’s total field of vision when looking forward. The technical patents IMAX owns are very complicated. Producing the high-quality resolution films we see today involves running the film horizontally through an IMAX camera to achieve a larger film frame. A special bulb which pressurizes the Xenon gas that is used in the projectors also contributes creating the brilliant detail and colors that wash the screen in an IMAX theater.

The company serves commercial multiplex, commercial destination, and institutional customers, including science and natural history museums, zoos, and aquaria and other educational and cultural centers. They also sell or lease its theater systems to theme parks, tourist destination sites, fairs, and expositions. As of December 31, 2009, its IMAX theater network comprised 430 theater systems, including 309 commercial and 121 institutional systems.

Today, IMAX held their quarterly results for investors. The highlights are impressive (again, after the last two quarter results were much better than anticipated as well) with total revenues increasing 38% to $55 million dollars; operating cash flow increases to $29 million dollars; increased theatre system installation outlook to be 25% more than previously stated; and a net income of $2.6 million dollars, or $.05 per diluted share.

Disclaimer: I don't hold a position in IMAX stock, however I have owned shares in the past and anticipate buying into IMAX again soon, but not until I see the stock rebound a bit from an ugly plunge the price took during July 2010.

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