In a recent note, strategists from Goldman Sachs predicted that the stock rally in the tech sector is likely to come to an end sooner rather than later. The big bank estimates that the immediate future will bring either tighter regulations from the Fed or a major slowdown in economic growth, either of which will be less than beneficial for stocks. Notably, Goldman points out that its group of S&P 500 companies with strong balance sheets has outperformed those with weak balance sheets by 520 basis points over the past six months; this is a highly unusual circumstance in a 10%+ equity market rally, with an ominous precedent in 2000 at the height of the tech bubble. Here are some of the stocks that Goldman includes in its strong balance sheet grouping.

Apple, Inc.

Apple (AAPL) is a stalwart of the strong balance sheet list. As the world's most valuable company, Apple ended 2016 with over $216 billion in cash and investments. As of the beginning of the year, Apple sported a dividend yield of 1.87%, placing it at the forefront of the tech sector. Its dividend has grown consistently since 2013, and its remarkable customer loyalty assures investors that Apple is likely to remain strong for the time to come.

Microsoft Corporation

Microsoft (MSFT) has more than $113 billion between its cash holdings and short-term investments. Besides, it is among the largest software developers in the world. As of the end of 2016, the company also sported an above-average stock yield and it maintains a stellar record when it comes to dividend growth. Its payout ratio typically lies above 50%.

Facebook and Alphabet

Two of the four stocks making up the so-called FANG group have also made Goldman's list of companies with strong balance sheets. Both Facebook (FB) and Google's parent company, Alphabet (GOOGL) top the list. Netflix (NFLX) and Amazon (AMZN) did not make the cut.

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO) sports a total of over $65 billion between its cash and short-term investments, making it one of the strongest balance sheets of today. Cisco has seen its dividend yield grow quickly and now features a payout ratio of 48.1%, according to


3M (MMM) is a remarkably consistent grower when it comes to dividends. While the company only has about $2.68 billion in cash, placing it much lower on the scale than the companies listed above, it compensates with a diversified business model, excellent fundamentals, and a strong history of dividend payments. Its dividend yield is 2.5% and its annualized payout is $4.44. What's more, the company has managed to grow its dividend consistently, making gains each year since 1959.

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