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Is Oracle the Best Tech Stock to Buy Now?

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Shares of Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL  ) are trading more than 3% higher today after reporting better than expected third-quarter results last night. Revenue soared 37% to $8.76 billion. Non-GAAP profits improved to $0.54 a share. Analysts were expecting $8.67 billion and $0.50 a share, respectively.

Sun helped drive the gains. The company's $7.4 billion purchase of the one-time server superstar has helped Oracle to create a thriving hardware business. Revenue related to sales of its Exadata database appliance and Exalogic cloud-computing appliance more than tripled year-over year. Overall, hardware accounted for 19% of Q3 revenue.

The strong performance elicited the usual jabs from management. Company co-president Safra Catz said during last night's earnings call that if Oracle paid the same sort of multiple for Sun that Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) paid for 3PAR, it would've cost close to $140 billion. "Don't worry, we wouldn't do that," Catz needled.

She's right; Oracle doesn't need that sort of purchase. With revenue and profit both up more than 35% over the past year, the database king is growing faster than IBM (NYSE: IBM  ) , HP, and SAP (NYSE: SAP  ) . Of the megacap techies, only Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) is growing faster.

But is Apple the better deal? Maybe, but the gap is narrowing. A 20% increase in the company's quarterly dividend payment, to $0.06 a share, makes this the rare tech stock that offers both massive earnings growth and outrageous dividend growth. Oracle could very well be the best tech stock to buy now.

Do you agree? Disagree? Please vote in the poll below and then leave a comment to tell us which tech stock you're buying now. You can also rate Oracle in Motley Fool CAPS and keep tabs on the company by adding the stock to your watchlist for free, personalized stock trackin

Apple is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended members create a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple, IBM, and Oracle at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. 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 owns shares of Apple, IBM, and Oracle and has written Apple puts. The Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is checking its files. One moment please.

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