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5 Technology Stocks That (Almost) Are the Next Apple

AAPL is in a league of its own, but these picks come close

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F5 Networks

F5 Networks LogoF5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) is a software company that helps folks manage data and optimize networks. It’s not as glamorous as Apple, but it has a lot in common with the tech stock:

Growth: F5 has posted 10 quarters of year-over-year revenue growth, and fiscal 2011 sales have almost doubled fiscal 2008 numbers and were up 31% over 2010 numbers. F5 has posted at least 13 straight quarters of EPS growth, and its fiscal 2011 profits more than tripled 2008 numbers and were up almost 60% above 2010 earnings.

Cash: F5 has zero debt and a decent stockpile of $550 million in cash.

Performance: FFIV stock has outperformed the market in the past 12 months, up more than 10% to double the Dow Jones’ return in the same period. It also has returned 140% since February 2010 vs. just 25% for the Dow.

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