[Editor’s note: This story was originally published in November 2018. It has since been updated and republished. The writer’s opinions may have shifted since its initial publication.]
All good things must come to an end, as market participants are finding out. Over the past few months, the Dow Jones has gyrated wildly from hitting all-time highs to suffering gut-checking lows. While virtually all sectors have fallen on hard times, tech stocks have bore the brunt of the damage.
Since the beginning of October, the benchmark exchange-traded fund Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLK) has dipped into double-digit losses. That compares unfavorably to the broader SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEARCA:SPY), which absorbed a 7% loss over the same timeframe.
Similar to other sectors, the main culprit responsible for the decline in tech stocks is China. The specter of a full-blown trade war haunts the markets, and for understandable reasons. Because it’s the world’s second-biggest economy, a deteriorating relationship with China hurts both sides. At the same time, President Donald Trump is in no mood to show weakness after a disappointing midterm election for Republicans. He’ll continue appealing to his voter base, which means acting tough on China and keeping the government closed until he gets what he wants to build his wall.
Nevertheless, we’re witnessing encouraging results from Wall Street. But because so many names in the tech sphere have incurred severe volatility, they essentially represent potentially lucrative stocks to buy. A notable figure buying into this storyline is none other than the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett.
Of course, this is still a risky sector and it involves some knife-catching. Still, if you’ve got the contrarian urges, here are seven tech stocks to buy:
Earlier this summer, Cowen analyst Matthew Ramsay boldly declared that Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) has protection against China’s retaliatory tariffs. The reasoning made sense at the time. The Chinese semiconductor industry couldn’t hold a candle to its American counterparts. Therefore, they would hurt themselves with a retaliatory strike.
Unfortunately, NVDA stock didn’t receive the memo. In the second half of 2018, Nvidia shares plummeted, with NVDA ending the year down 31%. I understand the volatility. Having a trade war with China does very few industries any good, especially tech stocks. As cyclical investments, several shareholders panicked out of NVDA stock. An earnings disappointment resulted in yet another big selloff overnight and into this morning. But the hard numbers suggest the selloff has gone a bit too far.
Few companies are as financially solid as Nvidia, which features a strong balance sheet as well as good profitability and growth metrics. This has led to the markets placing a significant premium on NVDA stock. Near the start of this year, it traded at 51 times trailing earnings.
Now, NVDA stock trades at close to 18 times earnings. Better yet, it’s still the same Nvidia … only at a steep discount.
In the ongoing market debate between Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD), AMD wins this year hands down. Despite going on a wickedly-turbulent ride, AMD shares have gained a whopping 99%. On the other hand, INTC stock has earned a comparatively-pedestrian 5%.
As I noted recently, AMD makes a strong contrarian case. Its market value has taken a beating, but it has proven support where it recently landed. The risk factor is that AMD is notoriously volatile. It could shoot to the moon, or it could crater. If you’re angling for a more reliable contrarian asset, I’d look at INTC stock.
Intel doesn’t have AMD’s present sex appeal. However, resounding fundamental strengths back INTC stock, which many tech stocks can’t say. Primarily, Intel has the financial resources to weather difficult times. Once the weather clears, management can use these resources to invest aggressively into the industries of tomorrow.
Finally, INTC stock pays a dividend. It’s not much, but at a time when major indices have struggled for traction, Intel stands out from the crowd.
I’ve always admired Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) as a sheer dominating force. AMZN stock is like LeBron James dunking on some fool that dares challenge him. You know what’s going to happen, but you watch for the guttural joy of it all.
That said, it’s AMZN stock that is now getting “posterized,” as they say in the NBA. After getting off to a brilliant start and maintaining that momentum throughout most of the year, Amazon received a gut-check in September. The following month, the markets mercilessly laid into the e-commerce giant, dropping its shares 21%.
But is this the time to go contrarian on AMZN stock? My InvestorPlace colleague Tyler Craig doesn’t think so. He views Amazon as a dead-cat bounce. Considering that the company has had difficulty breaking past its 200-day moving average, I see his point.
On the flipside, though, AMZN stock has countered prior negative technical posturing with significant vigor. Recall that in early spring of this year, Amazon suffered a brief 14% decline before rebounding sharply.
History isn’t guaranteed to repeat. One thing I do know is that you’re probably better served betting on AMZN stock than betting against it.
When considering the best tech stocks to buy, Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) isn’t the first name that springs to mind. I’m not even sure it makes the top 20. While I believe the company has several positives to offer, ORCL stock just doesn’t generate broader appeal.
But after watching so many top-ranked organizations stumble in the markets recently, we should all give Oracle another look. Year-to-date, ORCL stock has gained slightly above 8%. While that’s not a compelling figure, ORCL is one of the few tech stocks that have held through the storm. Plus, shares are up over 3% in November, going completely against the grain.
That said, the biggest reason I included ORCL stock in this list of tech stocks to buy is Warren Buffett. The Oracle recently bought shares in the enterprise software and cloud-computing company. Interestingly, Buffett loves the titans of industry, particularly those who lever a moat in their core business.
And what’s Oracle’s moat? That they enjoy brand advantage with big businesses. The company has established a powerful reputation with Global 500 firms, which makes it harder for smaller entities to compete.
Among contrarian tech stocks to buy, Perspecta (NYSE:PRSP) is a fresh face. Launching its initial public offering in May of this year, the IT and business-solutions company hasn’t had time to feel out the markets. Unfortunately, that hasn’t exempted PRSP stock from severe punishment.
During the October rout, Perspecta shares dropped 5.5%. In the current month, PRSP stock has hemorrhaged nearly 11%. But even though we don’t have much technical price history to work with, some analysts are stating it’s oversold.
I agree. With PRSP stock, you must focus on the fundamentals. The underlying company’s biggest clients are government agencies. From my experience, the government is only good at two things: collecting money, and spending it. While that irks us all during tax season, having such clientele boost Perspecta’s longer-term potential.
Teradyne (NYSE:TER) has easily suffered one of the worst performances among tech stocks. Since the January opener, TER stock has shed 14%. This is not one of those stories in which an organization did well in the first half, and petered out in the second. No, Teradyne simply disappointed throughout much of 2018.
However, recent signals indicate that you should place TER in your list of stocks to buy. On Thursday’s session, Teradyne shares closed up 4.6%, helping to boost the overall technology sector. Not only that, I think a bottom may have formed already. Last month, the bears had an opportunity to sink TER stock below its $32 long-term support line, but failed.
If you’re a contrarian investor, you should seriously consider taking a gamble. TER stock boasts impressive fundamentals, featuring a strong balance sheet, as well as lofty profitability and growth metrics. Plus, due to the broader volatility among tech stocks, Teradyne’s valuation has come significantly down from its highs.
CACI International (CACI)
Part tech firm and part defense contractor, CACI International (NYSE:CACI) is in a unique position to rise above the muck. CACI specializes in information solutions and services but with a focus on missions critical to national security. Hence, CACI stock is one of the few tech stocks that could benefit from a contentious relationship with China.
The robustness and resilience of the company’s business model are reflected in the technical charts. Generally speaking, CACI stock has avoided the volatility that has impacted “regular” tech firms. For instance, CACA shares dropped 3.5% during the October selloff. Yes, the company incurred a loss … but it was a minor one compared to most other names.
Moving forward, I expect CACI stock to keep chipping away. Just like the situation with Perspecta, the underlying firm has a clientele with virtually-limitless pockets. Moreover, CACI is a necessity: if it fails, we as a country risk vulnerability to our way of life.
Do it for patriotic reasons or for its upside potential; either way, CACI stock can help lead its sector to a resurgence.
As of this writing, Josh Enomoto did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.
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