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Companies Behind Big Data Analytics: Stocks for the Future

Lee Jackson

Big data is starting to dominate how big business is done. Major corporations around the world are extracting everything from consumers' changing tastes to spending habits. The companies that can supply big data analytics to big business are poised to enter a new world that generates incredible revenue. One of the key components to this gigantic business is access to information via the Internet.

One thing that is driving the future is that the Internet industry, and Google Inc. (GOOG) in particular, has utilized big data analytics better than any other industry for two reasons: 1) it has access to vast amounts of data, and 2) it has developed tools that are more appropriate to capture, analyze and make sense of the data. The value of these large underlying data sets has also been publicly confirmed by the U.S. intelligence community's recent requests to leverage Internet data. Mainstream organizations are beginning to follow where data capture and analytic capabilities should benefit from the growing demand. Google is capturing data faster than anybody.

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In a recent research report, the technology analysts at Jefferies pointed out that Google was able to determine the severity of the flu season faster than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From a record number of online searches for user symptoms, remedies and treatments, Google compiled data at lightning speed. This type of data capture and analysis is fundamentally changing analytic efficiency to better derive insight and make decisions. According to professors at MIT, machine data will bring the next big trend in business management, where data measurement will replace human experience in the decision-making process.

This astounding leap forward in data and analytics is not confined to Google. The Jefferies report lists companies that are on the cutting edge of big data assimilation and analysis. They are the companies that are poised to make a huge leap forward in the next 10 years as the whole concept of how data is looked at and used in government and business changes and matures.

Here are some of the companies highlighted in the Jefferies report on which investors may want to do further personal due diligence. They are companies that are also on the leading edge of the big data revolution. These stocks may hold tremendous upside for investors that are patient as this new technological advance becomes more ubiquitous.

Splunk Inc. (SPLK) is rated at Hold by valuation at Jefferies. The analysts believe the company has a first-move advantage in a market supported by strong secular growth, which will provide time for the company to establish its platform strategy. Investors are urged to look for a better entry point. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $66.50. Splunk closed Wednesday at $61.89.

Tibco Software Inc. (TIBX) is a stock to buy at Jefferies. Near term, the Jefferies analysts think the company should see a multi-quarter increase in sales productivity, where they believe upward estimate revisions are likely. The consensus price target for the stock is posted at $29. Tibco closed Wednesday at $24.28.

The Jefferies research piece also identifies the network security field as an arms race of feature enhancements where there is currently a lack of sustainable product differentiation in this group. Stocks that are top names to buy include:

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (CHKP) posted strong earnings for the third quarter. Analysts are very positive not only on results for the rest of the year, but 2014 as well. The consensus price target for the stock is $67. Check Point closed Wednesday at $61.36.

FireEye Inc. (FEYE) had a very successful IPO earlier this year and has continued to trade well. The stock has come in nicely from the highs posted earlier this fall and may offer investors a solid entry point. The consensus price target for this cyber security name is $50, and FireEye closed Wednesday at $38.66.

Fortinet Inc. (FTNT) continues to draw rumors as a possible buyout target. The company last week announced an expansion of its firewall and risk management network security ecosystem by officially announcing partnerships with AlgoSec, FireMon, ManageEngine, Skybox Security and Tufin. This ecosystem gives Fortinet customers and resellers a broad choice of solutions providers when it comes to risk mitigation and security management process optimization. The consensus price target for the stock is $24. Fortinet closed Wednesday at $19.99.

Investors that have the foresight to add top technology stocks to their portfolios that are in the big data and cyber security areas may reap the benefits for years to come. Technology continues to grow and evolve. That evolution is only poised to continue.

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