4 Top-Performing Tech Stocks for 2012
Forget about buzzy Internet stocks going into 2012. As Groupon, LinkedIn and Pandora continue to tumble, it's all about established tech companies with proven stories next year.
With investors expected to stay cautious for the foreseeable future, analysts are bullish on businesses with predictable revenue streams and growth.
"The companies that really showcased the strength of the tech market (in 2011) were old tech, not new tech," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "The buzz was social networking but the money was on traditional hardware and software."
Here are four of the best-performing tech stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 for 2011 where analysts still see major momentum going forward.
While International Business Machines lacks the sexiness of some of its tech peers, it's nevertheless been a good year for Big Blue.
Shares of IBM have popped 32 percent since the beginning of the year, as billionaire investor Warren Buffett joined in on the action. The company also climbed to become the second most valuable tech company by market cap behind only Apple.
Next year will be an exciting year for IBM, as Virginia Rometty, a former senior vice president at the company, replaces Sam Palmisano as CEO. Rometty was responsible for driving much of IBM's international growth as well as sales in other fast growing markets like services and analytics.
As the company shifts away from hardware, business analytics is expected to be a significant driver for IBM going into 2012. By 2015, the sector is expected to account for 20 percent of new growth, or $16 billion in revenue, the company has said.
Analytics software enables companies to break down and understand large volumes of data.
"Analytics is the next logical step for IBM given its transition toward a software and services provider is now arguably mature from a business transformation standpoint," said Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes.
In April, IBM also raised its dividend to 75 cents from 65 cents, the 16th year in a row it has upped its quarterly dividend.
While you may not know Teradata by name, you've almost certainly interacted with companies using its technology.
The data warehousing firm competes with players like IBM and Oracle to develop technology that helps companies sort through massive amounts of unstructured data and make decisions quickly.
Its customers include 3M, Coca-Cola , eBay and Wal-Mart .
Shares of Teradata have increased 28 percent since the beginning of the year as the company capitalizes on an industry-wide trend towards processing so-called "Big Data."
"We like Teradata because it is the leading data warehousing vendor, we believe it stands to benefit from the Big Data trend more than any other software vendor," JMP Securities Greg McDowell analyst wrote in a recent note.
The company has recently made a number of large acquisitions to broaden its footprint in the data space, including a $263 million purchase of Aster Data. Last year Teradata also picked up marketing software vendor Aprimo for $525 million.
In the most recent quarter ended in September, Teradata reported revenue jumped 23 percent to $602 million. The company posted non-GAAP EPS of 59 cents, versus 46 cents during the same period last year.
Teradata also upped its full year 2011 GAAP earnings per share to between $1.98 and $2.03 and its full-year non-GAAP earnings per share guidance to $2.25 to $2.30.
Chip equipment technology company KLA-Tencor has seen shares rise 26 percent this year and analysts expect it's only the beginning for the company's growth.
On Tuesday Morgan Stanley raised its price target on shares of KLA-Tencor to $55 from $50.
The firm, which supplies process diagnostic and control tools that are used by semiconductor manufacturers to detect defects during the chip-making process, is well positioned for the future.
"As chip manufacturing technologies advance, the complexity and number of defects at each success process node grow exponentially, thereby driving the need for ever-more advanced PDC tools and allowing KLA to grow faster than its peers in the semiconductor equipment industry," Morningstar analyst Andy Ng wrote in a recent note.
The company's gross margins, which have hovered around 60 percent for the last several quarters, are also among the best in the semiconductor industry.
4. Motorola Solutions
Motorola Solutions has had a good year after spinning off Motorola Mobility , its consumer-focused arm.
Shares of the business solutions company have risen 26 percent since January as billionaire investor George Soros upped his stake to 6.6 million shares.
Motorola Solutions, which develops communications equipment for law enforcement officers other related government offices, is the less trendy sibling to Motorola Mobility, which makes smartphones and tablets. But the company is still innovating and boosting growth.
During the most recent quarter, the company posted adjusted earnings of 65 cents per share and revenue of $2.11 billion, up from earnings of 54 cents and sales of $1.9 billion during the same period last year.
Analysts had expected earnings of 59 cents per share and revenue of $2.1 billion.
Bernstein analyst Pierre Ferragu called Motorola Solutions a "hidden gem" in a recent research note, noting that its business was previously hidden within the Motorola conglomerate who relied on it for its stable cash generation.
"The progressive evolution of the company's capital structure in the next two years should reveal a very high quality business model current overlooked," he wrote, noting that the company in recent months announced the initiation of a 22-cent quarterly dividend and a buyback authorization of $2 billion through 2012.
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