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5 Best-Performing Tech Stocks So Far This Year

These 5 stocks have delivered jaw-dropping gains so far in 2019. Despite a volatile market, these are the tech stocks that have still managed to seriously outperform. We are talking returns of 70% + in just over five months. That’s as the tech-heavy Nasdaq index enters correction territory amid ongoing regulatory concerns for the FAANG stocks. But the question is, do these 5 tech stocks still make compelling investing opportunities right now? Here’s what the Street has to say…

Trade Desk- 100.16%

At the time of writing, shares in Trade Desk (TTD – Research Report) have doubled year-to-date. That’s with a 15% burst in the last five days. The online advertising marketplace received a boost on Tuesday following comments from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell that he would consider lowering interest rates to ‘sustain the expansion' of the US economy.

What’s more, Pivotal Research’s Mark Levine upped his price target on TTD from $255 to $265 on June 5. This new Street-high price target indicates further upside potential of 14%. Levine sees continued share gains for TTD relative to other DSPs (demand-side platforms), adding that regulatory scrutiny of Google is a net positive for Trade Desk.

However other analysts are more cautious. Oppenheimer’s Brian Schwartz’s $210 price target indicates 10% downside from the current share price of. Nonetheless, the analyst, one of the Top 10 ranked by TipRanks, reiterated his buy rating on TTD post-strong Q1 results and a better 2019 outlook.

Schwartz stated: “Bottom Line: We believe that the combination of higher growth and margins versus other leading software vendors and the perception of being more aggressive on new and modern platform technologies than the competition will allow TTD to sustain a premium valuation versus the software industry.”

Shopify- 111%

E-commerce platform Shopify (SHOP – Research Report) has seen shares explode by 111% year-to-date. The company reported stellar results for Q1, and robust guidance for the year prompting the ongoing rally. Even in the last month shares have continued to climb 10%.

But now analysts are calling for investors to take a breather. Indeed, Morgan Stanley’s Brian Essex has just downgraded SHOP from Hold to Sell. That’s with a price target of just $209- which translates to 29% downside potential from current levels.

The analyst is concerned that much of Shopify’s revenue is transaction-based rather than subscription-based. Unlike transaction-based revenue, subscription-based revenue is recurring and therefore much more reliable. According to the latest earnings results, subscriptions now make up 44% of SHOP revenue down from 47% in the previous quarter.

“The durability and scale of subscription models is one reason SaaS vendors are able to command high multiples,” says Essex. “We do not think Shopify has the potential to reach the terminal operating margin potential of its enterprise SaaS peers.”

Snap- 136%

Out of all the stocks covered here, camera company Snap Inc (SNAP – Research Report) has recorded the best year-to-date performance. SNAP investors have been rewarded for their faith with remarkable returns of 136%. For Q1, the company revealed stronger than expected daily active user growth (~4 million adds), expanding average revenue per user, and even reduced operating losses.

However the stock also shows the most cautious outlook from the Street, with the clear majority of analysts rating SNAP a Hold. The message from the Street appears to be that the current valuation has now largely factored in the positives, while competition remains intense. JMP Securities analyst Ronald Josey explains why he is staying on the sidelines here:

"While we believe there are several catalysts for Snap in 2019, we point to the now-launched rebuild of its Android app, greater engagement with Snap Games & Discover, and an improved AR experience, as Snap now reaches 90% of 13-24 year olds domestically, we maintain our Market Perform rating, as we focus on engagement rates (we project DAUs to decline sequentially in 2Q) and we note the potential risks around Snap’s sales force reorganization."

Plug Power- 105%

Trading at under $5, Plug Power (PLUG – Research Report) makes an interesting investing proposition. The company develops hydrogen fuel cells that offer increased productivity and lower operating costs compared to traditional batteries. Despite doubling in share price over the last few months, analysts still see over 40% upside potential ahead. And that’s with a ‘Strong Buy’ consensus based on all ratings received by PLUG in the last three months.

Christopher Van Horn of B Riley FBR is upbeat about the company’s expansion from mobile fuel cells to material handling and on-road applications like electrical vehicles. “Plug Power continues to see strengthening business trends in core material handling markets, as well as lateral opportunities in on-road applications” wrote the analyst.

“More importantly, we believe PLUG should achieve—and sustain—operating profitability starting in 2H19, a long-term goal that is finally in sight. We reiterate our Buy rating and $3.50 PT: We believe the company is better positioned in its core material handling business than ever before.”

Lattice Semiconductor- 99%

Also in the ‘Strong Buy’ camp comes Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC – Research Report). The company has just held a bullish analyst day that emphasized share gains of its FPGA solutions in key communications, computing, industrial, and automotive segments. FPGA stands for field-programmable gate array, which essentially means that the user programs the device rather than the designer- offering very high levels of flexibility.

Following the event, five-star Cowen & Co analyst Matt Ramsay reiterated his buy rating and $16 price target (16% upside potential). The analyst stated "Strategically, there were few surprises at the analyst day, as we believe new CEO Jim Anderson has his team laser focused on Lattice's differentiation in the low-power/small footprint FPGA market… New target model of double digit revenue growth and 62%+ GM appears achievable, with cost optimization driving a clear path to $1 EPS power.”

Ultimately, Ramsay concludes: “We continue to believe the combination of Lattice's differentiated FD-SOI technology, and its competitive positioning as the only FPGA provider focused on low-power edge processing should allow it to benefit from several powerful drivers of secular semiconductor content."

Discover more 'Strong Buy' stock ideas from top analysts here