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Tickers in this Article: IBM, AAPL, RIMM, DELL
Technology stocks have done very well this past year. A quick look at a chart for the tech heavy Nasdaq reveals that. However, I think that technology stocks can continue to fare well over the next year. Here is why.

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Why Technology Computes
Technology stocks look attractive for a couple of reasons. First and perhaps foremost the sector remains ripe with attractive new(er) products and/or advancements in technology that can draw investor attention. Take Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) for example. The company has made numerous headlines recently with its hot iPad product. Analysts, investors and consumers continue to look to the California based company for the release of new and innovative products over time. Apple has certainly not disappointed on that front in recent years and that won't change too much going forward as its hard charging leader, Steve Jobs, seems bent on keeping the company at the cutting edge.

Exceeding Expectations
Earnings in general have been good too, at least when compared to expectations. With regard to Apple, its beaten expectations by a large amount in each of the past four quarters. Other large names in technology like Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) have done well on the earnings front too. RIMM, which is famous for its BlackBerry product, has beaten the Street in three of the past four quarters. Dell, Inc (Nasdaq:DELL), another investor favorite over the years, has beaten expectations in three of the last four quarters.

With the economy improving the products these companies make will be in greater demand - and earnings can improve even more. With the economy coming back, some investors might be willing to take on more risk, reducing their cash holdings, bond holdings and holdings in dividend paying stocks for the opportunities in this space. In short, the sector could see buying pressure. (For more on analyst expectations, be sure to read Analyst Forecasts Spell Disaster For Some Stocks)

Near Term Catalyst?
In the near-term, the press and investors are likely to have their eyes focused on International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) and more specifically the legendary company's first quarter numbers, which are due out later this month on the 19th. The investment community will likely be looking to what management says or doesn't say about the current operating environment, and the guidance (if any) it offers. In short, this could well set the tone for tech, one way or the other for the remainder of the month and into May. My thinking is that the company will continue its recent trend and exceed current expectations of $1.93 per share.

Bottom Line
Technology stocks have been faring well and I'm optimistic about the future too. Interesting new products, attractive stories, and better-than-expected earnings leave me impressed. Again, look to IBM earnings on the 19th. That company and what its management says or doesn't say in conjunction with the release is likely to set the tone.

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