Tech stocks have been one of the worst-performing sectors of the market, losing over 20% of their value so far this year.
After a 30-year bull run that saw the Nasdaq 100 index gain nearly 4,000%, the tech-heavy benchmark has turned south and is officially in bear market territory.
While that’s made investors leery of dipping their toes into the sector, particularly when energy stocks have gained over 50% in 2022, now just might be a great time to invest in tech stocks. Many are trading at significant discounts to where they were even just a few months ago.
It’s not wise to simply anchor your investment decisions to a stock’s price, since they can always fall further. That’s why you also need to look at the quality of the company you’re buying. The following three tech companies give you both a solid business and a good price.
You haven’t been able to buy shares of Amazon.com (AMZN 0.25%) at their current price (around $2,100 per share) for two years. Not since the start of the pandemic has the e-commerce giant traded this low, and it’s been about a decade since its price-to-earnings ratio has been this low (around 50).
The reason for the discounting is fear that Amazon’s growth is slowing. After enjoying meteoric gains during the pandemic, the market doesn’t like that it’s no longer forecasting the same kind of growth rates it previously saw. The e-tailer’s sales grew just 7% in the first quarter compared to 44% growth last year, and last month it said it expected to only expand between 3% and 7% next quarter. That would mark the third consecutive quarter of single-digit gains and some of the slowest growth in two decades.
Yet even in a period of rampant inflation, Amazon is growing and is still expected to be responsible for 40% of all online sales. Its real potential, however, lies in its cloud business, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
It’s long been the profit center of Amazon (it still is, though retail is now profitable too), and as more businesses move their operations to the cloud, they will choose Amazon’s leading platform for support. AWS revenue surged 37% in the first quarter to $18.4 billion, with operating profits surging even higher, rising 57% to $6.5 billion.
Coupled with an upcoming 20-to-1 stock split that will make its shares more affordable to retail investors at about $110 each, there’s good reason to buy Amazon stock now and hold for the long term.
Apple (AAPL 0.17%) stock isn’t quite as discounted as Amazon’s, but its stock is down 16% year to date on analyst concerns that its growth potential is much less than it used to be. However, Wall Street is always predicting Apple’s best years are behind it, and it somehow manages to always surprise them.
Not everyone sees doom and gloom, however, as the smartphone upgrade cycle is still in effect. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives reportedly said in March that demand for the smartphone appears to be “elongated,” which would work well for the iPhone 14’s release later this year, while data from Canalys says Apple “continues to capture consumer demand” with the iPhone 13. Equally important, market researchers say the new iPhone SE “is becoming an important mid-range volume driver for Apple.”
With the rollout of 5G networks, Apple’s products will also be able to take full advantage of the increased speeds offered. But like Amazon, it’s no longer so much all about its products, but the behind-the-scenes services it offers. Service revenue reached an all-time high in Apple’s fiscal second quarter at $19.8 billion and now accounts for over 20% of the total.
The tech giant is going to be leaning even more heavily into that business going forward, reportedly restructuring it to concentrate more on streaming and advertising, which ought to help smooth out the boom-bust cycle that relying upon upgrades causes.
Apple can easily be tucked away and forgotten about in your portfolio for years’ worth of market-beating returns.
Even though Meta Platforms (FB 1.18%) changed its name from Facebook to indicate it was going all in on the metaverse, I’m not convinced that the virtual reality world will be as all-encompassing as many think.
To see the explosive growth that many expect, a large swath of the public would need to buy into the idea that doing stuff virtually is better than doing it in real life, and although you might be able to create your own perfect world and identity, it’s all still just pretend. An investor would be better off focusing on Meta’s real-world activity in Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
And just like Amazon and Apple, Meta has been boxed about the ears over fears of slowing growth. It recently suffered its first sequential decline in user counts in 18 years, but the company still has a massive base of 1.9 billion daily active users on Facebook. Instagram and WhatsApp both possess substantial numbers of users of their own, giving Meta a total of over 3.6 billion users.
Meta’s stock is down almost 50% from its high, trades at just 14 times next year’s earnings, and goes for a very cheap 13 times the free cash flow it produces. Its social media platforms aren’t going away, and are still enjoying growth. Add in whatever potential the metaverse might add to Meta Platforms, and its stock is a buy-and-hold favorite.