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3 Blue-Chip Tech Stocks to Buy Following Earnings

Benjamin Rains
Let's see why a social media power and two other blue-chip tech stocks might be worth buying following earnings...

Some of the biggest technology companies in the world have once again helped drive indexes to new highs in July. Second-quarter earnings season has, of course, not been kind to everyone, but some large-cap tech firms look strong following their recent quarterly financial releases.

Aside from Apple AAPL, which reports Tuesday, all of the other so-called FAANG stocks have Q2 earnings season in their rearview mirrors. Alphabet GOOGL saw its stock price surge after hours Thursday and soar in morning trading Friday after the Google parent posted stronger-than-projected results and announced a massive buyback.

Amazon AMZN, meanwhile, fell short of earnings estimates Thursday. And Netflix NFLX last week scared off some investors following the streaming TV firm’s huge subscriber miss.

For those paying attention, we are still missing one FAANG stock. So, let’s jump into why a social media power and two other blue-chip tech stocks might be worth buying following earnings…

1. Facebook FB

Facebook posted better-then-expected earnings and revenue results on Wednesday, with sales up 28% to $16.886 billion. The firm’s top-line expansion was spurred by continued user growth, with both monthly and daily active user totals up 8% to match Q1’s growth. Company executives estimate that more than 2.7 billion people use at least one of its “Family of services” every month, which includes Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Facebook’s overall user strength comes despite privacy concerns that forced the company to pay a record $5 billion fine as part of a Federal Trade Commission settlement.

Mark Zuckerberg’s firm still faces government scrutiny and antitrust investigations. But it is ready to go along with regulation and has the money to deal with oversight. Plus, Facebook and all of its other platforms offer size and reach that make the company highly attractive to advertisers. Facebook is expected to grab over 22% of total U.S. digital ad revenue in 2019. FB also has plans to roll out a blockchain-based cryptocurrency and dive deeper in services-style offerings, as well as augmented reality.  

FB is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) right now that has seen its upward earnings estimate revision activity surge following its earnings release, particularly for Q3 and fiscal 2020. Shares of Facebook are up 50% in 2019. This means FB stock could continue its post-earnings slip in the near future. But Facebook is an impressive company and its stock is trading at a significantly lower forward earnings multiple (22.9X vs. 29.3X) than its industry’s average.

2. PayPal PYPL

Like Facebook, PayPal posted its quarterly results on Wednesday. The digital payments firm topped bottom-line estimates even though it came up just short of revenue projections. PYPL shares did slip from right below their all-time highs following the company’s lower-than-expected full-year revenue guidance. Nonetheless, PayPal appears to be well positioned to profit within the larger fintech revolution. This includes its widely popular person-to-person payment platform, Venmo, which competes against Square’s SQ Cash App and others.

PayPal’s P2P volume jumped 40% in the second quarter to account for nearly 30% of the company’s total payment volume. Overall, the firm added 9 million, or 17% more, new active accounts during the quarter to bring its total to 286 million. Investors should also note that PayPal, which split from eBay EBAY in 2015, has beefed up its commercial future through deals with banks and fellow tech companies. PYPL has also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Uber UBER and MercadoLibre MELI—which has been called the Amazon of South America.

Despite slightly subdued guidance, our current Zacks Consensus Estimates call for the firm’s adjusted third-quarter earnings to jump nearly 21% on the back of 17.8% revenue growth that would see it hit $4.34 billion. This top-line growth would crush Q2’s 12% climb. PYPL is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) at the moment that sports an “A” grade for Momentum and “B” for Growth in our Styles Scores system. As we mentioned, the stock could pull back off its recent highs of $121.48 a share. Yet PayPal appears solid overall and its P/E of 37.9 rests far below its industry’s 65.6 average and Square’s 106.1

3. Microsoft MSFT

The last stock on our list today topped quarterly Wall Street estimates last Thursday. Microsoft stock has continued to hit new heights following its release, which includes Friday morning’s new 52-week high of $141.25 a share. The tech titan’s Intelligent Cloud unit once again stole the show. Unit revenue climbed 19% to $11.4 billion in MSFT’s Q4 fiscal 2019, with Azure up 64%. The firm’s expansion into cloud computing has seen it compete directly with industry leader Amazon.

Not to be outdone, Microsoft’s “Productivity and Business Processes” unit—that features Office, LinkedIn, and more—jumped 14% to $11.0 billion. The company’s Windows business has also continued to grow and its gaming unit is expected to play a vital role for years to come. Peeking ahead, MSFT’s fiscal 2020 revenue is expected to climb 11% above 2019, with 2021 expected to jump 10.4% higher to reach $154.18 billion. MSFT’s EPS is projected to pop nearly 10% this year and 13.5% above that in fiscal 2021.  

Microsoft stock has climbed 39% in 2019 to help it become the world’s most valuable public company with a market cap over $1 trillion. On top of that, its recent positive earnings estimate revision activity helps it earn a Zack Rank #2 (Buy). Microsoft also pays an annualized dividend of $1.84 a share at the moment, with a 1.31% yield.

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