Tech stocks have come under pressure in recent days. Nonetheless, the Nasdaq 100 Technology Sector index has far outperformed the S&P 500 index, gaining more than 33% over the past year compared to 26% for the S&P 500 index.
Wall Street enjoyed the explosive demand for enterprise software services, data center expansions, financial technology (fintech) developments and the metaverse hype in the past year. And industry metrics point toward a continued long-term bull market in tech stocks.
According to recent research, consumers should expect several strategic technology trends in 2022. The study highlights creative and disrupting uses of technology in various areas, including cloud platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), distributed enterprise, autonomic systems, decision intelligence, and hyperautomation.
Put another way, potential investors should keep companies in these segments on their radar. Against this backdrop, here are seven of the best tech stocks to buy for December:
- Affirm (NASDAQ:AFRM)
- AT&T (NYSE:T)
- DigitalOcean (NYSE:DOCN)
- Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT)
- ProShares Smart Materials ETF (NYSEARCA:TINT)
- Roku (NASDAQ:ROKU)
- Workiva (NYSE:WK)
These companies in our list have competitive advantages that support their price performances. However, given the recent increase in shares prices, many trade at substantial premiums. While a high valuation level is often justified due to solid growth prospects, potential investors might want to wait for short-term profit-taking in these names before hitting the ‘buy’ button.
Tech Stocks to Buy: Affirm (AFRM)
- 52-week range: $46.50 – $176.65
Fintech group Affirm offers buy now, pay later (BNPL) services, allowing individuals to pay for a purchase over time. Its active customer base is close to 9 million users.
Affirm announced first-quarter FY 2022 results on Nov. 10. Revenue increased 55% year-over-year (YOY) to $269.4 million. Net loss came in at $306.6 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, compared to $3.9 million, or 6 cents per diluted share, in the prior-year quarter. Cash and equivalents ended the period at $1.7 billion.
On the results, CEO Max Levchin remarked, “Our strong quarter once again demonstrates the continued momentum across Affirm as more people embrace the transparency, flexibility and value our solutions provide.”
Merchants on the Affirm platform soared to 102,000, up from only 6,500 a year ago. Aside from its recent partnership with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), the company has recently teamed up with American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) to allow passengers to purchase flights and pay over time.
AFRM stock hovers at slightly above $120, up over 130% over the past six months but fell almost 20% in the past five days. It is currently trading at 40 times trailing sales.
Among 12 analysts polled, Affirm shares have a “buy” rating, with an average 12-month price target of $177.50. Investors could consider buying AFRM stock around $115.
- 52-week range: $23.96 – $33.88
- Dividend Yield: 8.40%
With around 66 million postpaid and 17 million prepaid phone customers, the Dallas, Texas-based AT&T is the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier. Management recently announced the upcoming spinoff WarnerMedia, which contributes less than 20% of revenue. Wall Street has been debating how the group will deal with both the challenges and positives of being primarily a wireless telecom.
AT&T released Q3 2021 results on Oct. 21. Consolidated revenue declined 5.7% YOY to $39.9 billion. The company reported net income of $5.9 billion, or 82 cents per diluted share, compared to $2.8 billion, or 39 cents per diluted share, in the prior-year quarter. Free cash flow stood at $5.2 billion.
After the announcement, CEO John Stankey remarked, “We had our best postpaid phone net add quarter in more than ten years, our fiber broadband net adds increased sequentially, and HBO Max global subscribers neared 70 million.”
Long-term investors hope that the narrower focus will enable AT&T to benefit from 5G tailwinds. Management forecasts its 5G network to cover 200 million Americans over the next several years.
AT&T currently trades at $24 territory, down 15% year-to-date (YTD). Among 12 analysts polled, T shares have a “hold” rating, with an average 12-month price target of $31. The stock currently looks cheap, trading at less than 7.4 times forward earnings and 0.95x trailing sales.
Tech Stocks to Buy: DigitalOcean (DOCN)
- 52-week range: $35.35 – $133.40
DigitalOcean provides an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform for developers as well as small and medium-sized enterprises. As a cloud delivery model, IaaS “provides on-demand computing resources over the internet, including networking, storage, and other infrastructural components.” DigitalOcean’s click-and-go user interface enables clients to develop applications easily.
Management issued Q3 results on Nov. 4. Revenue grew 37% YOY to $111 million. Non-GAAP net income came in at $14.2 million, or 12 cents per diluted share, up from $2.6 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, in the prior-year quarter. Cash and equivalents stood at $592 million with zero debt.
CEO Yancey Spruill remarked, “We are building the foundation for durable 30%+ revenue growth with strong free cash flow generation driven by investments in product innovation to support our customers’ needs and sales and marketing initiatives to further penetrate our massive market opportunity.”
Recent metrics highlight that the global IaaS market “was valued at USD 75.0 Billion in 2018 and is expected to reach USD 238.87 Billion by the year 2026, at a CAGR of 18%… Growing need for reducing physical infrastructure and save IT cost, technological advancements in Edge computing, research, and constant innovation are some of the factors driving the market.”
In other words, DigitalOcean should grow revenues significant during the decade. DOCN stock currently trades at $97 per share. It is up 130% over the past six months but plunged about 20% over the past several days.
Among 1o analysts polled, the stock has a “buy” rating, with an average 12-month price target of $120. DOCN shares are trading at 27 times trailing sales.
- 52-week range: $115.17 – $355.35
Cybersecurity group Fortinet provides security services for a wide range of enterprises and governments. Readers might be interested to know that the Global Cyber Security Market size was valued at $183.3 billion in 2020 and is predicted to reach $539.8 billion by 2030, with a CAGR of 11.6% from 2021-2030. As a high-growth name in the segment, Fortinet has been on investors’ radar.
Management announced Q3 results on Nov. 4. Revenue went up by 33% YOY to $867 million. Non-GAAP net income came in at $165.9 million, or 99 cents per diluted share, up from $145.4 million, or 88 cents per diluted share, in the prior-year quarter. Free cash flow surged 77% higher to $330 million. Cash and equivalents ended the period at $1.85 billion.
CEO Ken Xie remarked, “We are extremely pleased with our third quarter performance as we exceeded $1 billion in quarterly billings for the first time in Fortinet’s history. Additionally, Gartner again recognized our Secure SD-WAN solution as a Leader in the 2021 Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure while placing highest in its ability to execute.”
Data center security hardware and software services contributed to the bottom-line growth. Management forecasts Q4 revenue to increase 26% to 30% YOY to between $940 million and $970 million.
Fortinet’s firewall hardware is regarded as one of the best in the industry. As past of its international expansion, management recently partnered with Spain’s Telefónica Tech to launch a new security service for remote workforces in Europe and abroad.
FTNT stock currently hovers at $330 territory, up 120% YTD. Among 3o analysts polled, the stock has a “buy” rating, with an average 12-month price target of $380. Shares are trading at a premium at 73x forward earnings and 17.5x trailing sales.
Tech Stocks to Buy: ProShares Smart Materials ETF (TINT)
Our next discussion is on an exchange-traded fund (ETF), namely, the ProShares Smart Materials ETF. It is a new fund that was first listed in October, and assets under management stand at $4.2 million. In other words, it is still a very small fund with limited trading history.
The fund provides exposure to companies involved in the development and production of smart materials, which “sense and respond to a broad range of stimuli, including electric and magnetic fields, temperature, pressure, mechanical stress, hydrostatic pressure, nuclear radiation and pH change.”
We find smart materials in a wide range of industries, such as defense, health care, automotive, electronics, and consumer goods. Recent research suggests that the size global smart materials market could go over $8 billion by the end of 2027. growing at a CAGR of 6.9% between 2022-2027.
The TINT stock portfolio currently has 30 names. The materials sector accounts for the largest portion of the ETF with 67.87%, followed by information technology, IT, (16.97%), industrials (13%), and healthcare (2.16%). The top 10 holdings comprise 46% of net assets.
The leading companies in the roster include chemicals names Chemours (NYSE:CC), Sika (OTC:SXYAY), Cabot (NYSE:CBT), and RPM International (NYSE:RPM) as well as semiconductor heavyweight Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT).
Over the past months, TINT is up about 3%. Potential investors could regard a decline toward $38 as a better entry opportunity.
- 52-week range: $222.32 – $490.76
The leading TV platform, Roku, which distributes content via The Roku Channel, needs little introduction. Its revenue sources include advertising, hardware sales, distribution fees, OS licensing, and subscription sales.
Roku announced Q3 results on Nov. 3. Total revenue grew 51% YOY to $680 million. Net income came in at 68.9 million, or 48 cents per diluted share, up from $12.9 million, or 9 cents per diluted share, in the prior-year quarter. Cash and equivalents ended the period at $2.2 billion.
On these metrics, CEO Anthony Wood remarked, “We have a relentless focus on building the best TV streaming platform that benefits audiences, content publishers, and advertisers, and we remain well positioned for the long term.”
In recent quarters, Roku has benefited immensely from advertising dollars that have moved toward digital platforms, and has been hailed as disruptive name in this space. Yet, Wall Street now debates whether the business is maturing. As a result, 2021 has not been a good year for investors.
ROKU stock hovers at $230 per share, down over 30% YTD. ROKU shares are currently trading at less than half of their peak in late July.
Among 28 analysts polled, the stock has a “buy” rating, with a median 12-month price target of $380. The shares are trading at 12.2 times trailing sales. Interested readers could consider buying around $365.
Tech Stocks to Buy: Workiva (WK)
- 52-week range: $72.46 – $173.24
Ames, Iowa-based Workiva offers a compliance platform that to simplify the reporting process for companies. Its platform, Wdesk, was initially set up for companies file reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Workiva announced solid Q3 results on Nov. 3. Total revenue increased 28% YOY to $112.7 million. Non-GAAP net income came in at $8.7 million, or 15 cents per diluted share, up from $2.5 million, or 5 cents per diluted share, in the prior-year quarter. Cash and equivalents ended the quarter at $522 million.
After the announcement, CEO Marty Vanderploeg remarked, “Workiva delivered another strong quarter, beating third quarter guidance for revenue and operating results. We achieved 30.4% organic growth in subscription & support revenue, and 27.9% in total revenue.”
The company has been growing its customer base steadily. Wall Street has also given its seal of approval on the mostly subscription-based business. Management anticipates full-year 2021 revenue to reach $439 million, showing 25% YOY growth.
Among eight analysts polled, the stock has a “buy” rating, with a median 12-month price target of $172.50. WK Stock currently hovers at $140, up 53% YTD. It is trading at 17 times trailing sales. Potential investors could regard the $135 level as a better entry point.
On the date of publication, Tezcan Gecgil did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Tezcan Gecgil, Ph.D., has worked in investment management for over two decades in the U.S. and U.K. In addition to formal higher education in the field, she has also completed all three levels of the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) examination. Her passion is for options trading based on technical analysis of fundamentally strong companies. She especially enjoys setting up weekly covered calls for income generation.