For growth investors, technology-related companies have been a great place to park investment capital over the last decade. With new innovation, there’s been solid growth, which investors have paid handsomely for. Accordingly, for those seeking the best returns possible, focusing on top tech stocks to buy has been a winning strategy.
However, this year, investors aren’t paying up for growth anymore. That’s because tech stocks have been hit hard as a result of the Federal Reserve’s aggressive interest rate hiking schedule. Unfortunately, with more in the way of hikes expected this week, more valuation compression for tech stocks could be on the horizon.
That said, despite a macro environment that will likely remain bumpy, investors looking for long-term capital appreciation may want to start creating a new buy list.
Here’s my list of three top tech stocks to buy on the dip, for those who don’t want to be kicking themselves later.
The largest company by market capitalization in the world, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) really needs no introduction.
This consumer discretionary king has absolutely dominated the smartphone market for approximately a decade. Interestingly, Apple has provided investors with a relatively diversified set of business lines, with the company’s core iPhone product leading the way. But there’s also Macs, the Apple Watch, iPods, and a range of very profitable accessories (namely, Air Pods) which have provided incredible profitability over the years.
Apple’s earnings have exploded following the pandemic, as a surge in cheap capital flooded to discretionary upgrades. Certainly, in times of stress, these purchases may decrease. That said, Apple’s margins are truly impressive, and this is a company with pricing power. While Apple has decided not to increase the prices on its core iPhone lines this year, it’s clear that consumers are willing to pay up for the best technology. Accordingly, over time, Apple is an inflation-beating tech stock worth taking a look at right now.
As a sort of defensive moat, Apple is a company with an enormous cash pile and a loyal customer base. These factors should not be understated, and should help get this company through any turmoil on the horizon. No matter how bleak investors think the economic future may be, Apple has proven its ability to grow in good times and bad. Thus, this is the top stock I’m tethered to right now.
Perhaps the most well-known company in terms of search around the world is Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG). The core foundation of this company’s business is built upon digital advertising, which has continued to explode over time. Indeed, even in the pandemic, companies didn’t really slow their pace of online advertising spend. Accordingly, this $1.33 trillion company continued to see valuation expansion at a time many were turning bearish.
As it turns out, Alphabet’s strong performance from its core business has led to a declining multiple of late. With that, investors can now pick up shares of GOOG stock for less than 20 times trailing earnings. That’s about as cheap as I’ve ever seen this growth stock trade. Much of this has to do with, once again, lower estimates for forward-looking growth.
Like other tech companies that have sought diversification, Alphabet’s new core growth driver is its cloud business. Over time, this business should offset any choppiness from its core search business.
Another company with dominant market share is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). According to Statista, the Windows OS is loaded on more than 76% of personal computers worldwide, in comparison to 15.3% of Apple’s Mac OS. That’s impressive, and is one of the key reasons why long-term investors continue to hold software and services leader Microsoft.
Like other major mega-cap tech stocks, Microsoft saw a boost during the pandemic. That’s partly because remote working became the norm, with society’s slow shift in this direction heating up. While many employees are returning to the office, cloud service demand has continued to skyrocket. As a leader in this space, growing 28% year over year in this segment alone, Microsoft is a key player to watch in terms of growth.
Microsoft’s valuation multiple has reflected this higher growth trajectory, for sure. This is a mega-cap tech stock (worth $1.82 trillion) trading at 25 times earnings. That’s expensive for most companies, never mind those trading at this kind of a valuation.
That said, Microsoft’s operating margins of around 40% and highly cash-generative core business makes future cloud-based growth seem more attractive. This is a company I think will likely always trade at a premium, and is worth a look at this lower valuation today.
On the date of publication, Chris MacDonald has shares of Apple and Amazon. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.