2 Cutting-Edge Companies to Watch

The odds that Fool analyst Eric Bleeker will miss a technology trend are lower than your chances of leaving the 10-minute oil-change place with the same number of quarters in your change dish: It just doesn't happen. As part of my ongoing effort to pump every analyst and advisor in Fool HQ for the companies on their watch lists, I chatted with Eric about two intriguing shifts in the technological world, and the companies poised to capitalize on them.

Governments are mandating the acceptance of LED lighting, and Cree (Nasdaq: CREE  ) is at the center of the race to improve energy efficiency over traditional lighting sources. Unfortunately, its shares got absolutely pummeled yesterday, dropping roughly 15% in the wake of an earnings report that didn't exactly elate investors. While some are still enamored with Cree -- Fool analyst Travis Hoium wrote an impassioned ode to the company last week -- Eric thinks Veeco Instruments (Nasdaq: VECO  ) is likely a better play to get in on the inevitable trend toward LED lighting. The equipment supplier took a more modest hit on Cree's weakness, and the company now trades around 10 times earnings while boasting a decent balance sheet.

Additionally, because it provides materials to a diversified roster that includes stalwarts such as LG and Philips, Veeco won't be at significant risk if Cree's meltdown was company-specific. If investors overreacted to Cree's earnings, Veeco is in an even happier place. Eric's watching to see how the story develops, but he's got Veeco atop his watchlist.

With Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) Windows nearly as ubiquitous as light bulbs, companies that favorably attach themselves to the software maker can bask in the glow from Redmond. For years, Microsoft offered Windows only for computers powered by chips from industry leader Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) and rival AMD. But now, ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH  ) is the latest chipmaker to earn Microsoft's blessing. In addition, ARM licenses its chip blueprints to seemingly every nook and cranny of the mobile world, with customers ranging from big guys like Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM  ) to NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA  ) , a favorite in the hallways of Fooldom.

"ARM's got a huge lead in mobile devices, and now it's moving upstream into PCs and possibly servers," Eric told me. "Share prices have nearly tripled in the past year, but the story's still got a long way to go before we know how it's going to play out."

That's why it pays to watch. Keep your eyes on these companies by adding them to My Watchlist, your free and customized hub for the news and numbers on the companies you care about. Just click below to start.

Intel and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. NVIDIA is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of and has bought calls on Intel. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Intel and a diagonal call position on Microsoft. The Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Qualcomm. Try any of our Foolish newsletters free for 30 days.

Roger Friedman isn't hip enough to own any of the companies mentioned above, but Eric owns shares of NVIDIA. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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