Each year the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is a star-studded event at which companies from around the world trot out every conceivable new gadget for public consumption. This year there is a huge buzz around what is being called the "Internet of Things." This refers to the phenomena of every conceivable item from glasses and watches to kitchen devices and home security to cars being controlled and connected by what has quickly become the ubiquitous Internet.
Technology titan John Chambers, the chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems, will be delivering a keynote speech at the CES, and his presentation will focus directly on the theme of the show: The Internet of Things: Where the Money Lies. Chambers participation and focus on the extraordinary prospects going forward will only heighten the buzz on Wall Street as the major firms try to decipher which companies are poised to benefit the most.
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In a new report out today, the technology team at Piper Jaffray has done just that. They suspected the main theme at CES this year would indeed be the Internet of Things. While they do believe there is a large degree of hype and most of the new devices will not generate significant revenue now, they concede that wearable devices and home automation categories have already started to gain some traction. In their report they list some of the top companies that stand to benefit in this new growth field sooner rather than later.
ARM Holdings PLC (ARMH) is a smart call for smartphone use in the Internet of Things. Its chip designs are in 95% of smartphones, regardless of who makes them. Many expect the primary Internet of Things silicon chips to be comprised of a processor core (or microcontroller), a radio component and a sensor. ARM may be at the cutting edge for that design and more. Investors are paid a small 0.3% dividend. The Thomson/First Call price target for the stock is $58. ARM was trading at $52.60 in early Wednesday action.
Broadcom Corp. (BRCM) is a former high-flyer trying to fight its way back to prominence. The stock of this provider of semiconductor solutions to wireless and wired communications has seen a surge over the past four weeks and may be on portfolio managers' radar. A key reason for this move has been the positive trend in the earnings estimate revisions picture. For Broadcom's full year estimate, nine estimates have gone higher in the past 30 days, compared to no downward revision. This trend has helped the consensus EPS estimate to trend higher, going from $1.78 a month ago to its current level at $1.84. Investors are paid a 1.5% dividend. The consensus estimate is pegged at $32. Broadcom was at $29.27 in early trading.
InvenSense Inc. (INVN) is the top pick at Piper Jaffray. The analysts see the company's biggest beneficiary in our universe as wearable devices transition from accelerometers to gyros to improve accuracy. The company is introducing new recognition solutions at the CES show, and the analysts seem impressed. The consensus price target for the stock is $20. InvenSense was up some at $20.50 in early market trading.
Linear Technology Corp. (LLTC) is a top name at Piper Jaffray as well. The company produces power management, data conversion, signal conditioning, radio frequency (RF) and interface integrated circuits; µModule subsystems; and wireless sensor network products. Investors receive a solid 2.3% dividend. The consensus price target for the stock is $40. Linear was flat in early trading at $44.90.
Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) is another blue chip technology stock to buy for 2014 at many firms. The company makes a healthy operating profit from the sale of chips into more than half of the world's smartphones and tablets. But a full two-thirds of its operating income comes from the licensing of its wireless technology and patents -- it gets a cut from just about every cellular device sold. Investors are paid a 1.9% dividend. The consensus price objective is $80. Qualcomm is down slightly to $72.92 in early trading.
Silicon Laboratories Inc. (SLAB) is an industry leader in the innovation of high-performance, analog-intensive, mixed-signal integrated circuits. Developed by a world-class engineering team with unsurpassed expertise in mixed-signal design, Silicon Labs' diverse portfolio of patented semiconductor solutions offers customers significant advantages in performance, size and power consumption. The consensus price target is $47. The stock was just above $42 in early trading.
Today, more than 99% of things in the physical world are unconnected. What will happen as more people, processes, data and things connect? Networked connections will become more relevant and valuable than ever before, as information leads to actions that create new capabilities and unprecedented economic opportunity. It is called the Internet of Everything, and it is here today. Wall Street is well aware of it. Investors need to be as well.