In today's fast-changing world, tech stocks provide a fantastic avenue for patient investors to capitalize on innovative businesses that positively affect the way we live.
But finding tech stocks that are likely to beat the broader market's returns is easier said than done. So to help get you started, we asked three Motley Fool contributors to chime in with their favorite technology names. Read on to learn why they like iRobot (NASDAQ:IRBT), DXC Technology (NYSE:DXC), and Okta (NASDAQ:OKTA).
The future of home robotics
Steve Symington (iRobot): There's some debate as to whether iRobot is part of the industrials, technology, or consumer goods sectors. And I suppose there's merit to each argument, considering the company is both an innovator in the robotics industry and a leader in practical artificial intelligence solutions, and generates the vast majority of its revenue from its flagship Roomba robotic vacuums. For our purposes, though, I'm content to call it one of the most promising tech stocks the market has to offer today.
To be fair, I'm a longtime shareholder of iRobot, and grew fond of the stock for the massive growth potential of both its core Roomba line and its budding Braava floor-mopping bots.
But on Wednesday, iRobot stepped outside to unlock a huge opportunity for incremental growth by unveiling Terra, its first-ever robotic lawn mower. Terra differentiates itself with iRobot's cutting-edge navigation technology and a new wireless beacon system, which should serve as an attractive alternative to current robot mowers that require costly buried-wire boundaries.
Best of all for investors, iRobot shares climbed a modest 8% on the news -- likely because Terra will only be available in Germany and as a beta program in the U.S. in 2019. But considering this marks iRobot's early entry into another multibillion-dollar market, if all goes well, it should mean massive long-term gains for investors who buy now.
Yes, you should know this anonymous IT giant
Anders Bylund (DXC Technology): If you've never heard of DXC Technology, you're not paying much attention to IT consulting services. Built from the 2017 merger of sector giants -- CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation), and the enterprise services division of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which had absorbed EDS (Electronic Data Systems) -- this is one of the ten biggest, fastest-growing, and most profitable names in a generally thriving market sector.
Best of all, DXC shares happen to be quite affordable right now. Share prices have fallen 28% over the last six months and 14% in the latest quarter alone. These moves were made in spite of DXC crushing Wall Street's earnings estimates in each of its four latest earnings reports. The stock is now trading for less than 10 times trailing earnings and 7 times forward estimates. If you prefer to weigh your investments by their cash-generating prowess, DXC stock can be had for 8.3 times free cash flow.
So we're looking at a titan of the IT consulting sector, whose unfamiliar name conceals a storied past. The company is wildly profitable and growing quickly. Yet you can pick up DXC shares from Wall Street's bargain bin. That's just crazy.
Okta's unlocking its full potential
Chris Neiger (Okta): You might not have heard of Okta before, or be familiar with its market, but don't let that scare you away from this rising tech stock. Okta is benefiting from the identity and access management (IAM) market, which will grow into a $22.7 billion industry by 2025.
Okta created its niche in this space with software that helps companies manage their users' logins and permissions. Okta's software works as a gatekeeper that grants access to data and files for some while restricting access for others.
The company's business has benefited as more companies look to manage their users in an ever-expanding digital world. That's why Okta's customer count grew 42% in the most recent quarter to 5,600, and subscription revenue was up 58% year over year. And not only is it increasing subscriptions and customers, but it's also earning more from them. In the most recent quarter, the company's dollar-based retention rate was 120%.
The company's share price is up about 150% over the past year, pushing Okta's price-to-sales ratio up to a hefty 23 right now. With companies growing as fast as Okta, investors should expect valuations to be high, and expect some volatility in the share price. But Okta's working its way toward profitability and delivering strong sales and customer growth, and should continue to benefit as the security management market expands. If you can stomach some uncertainty, it's likely this company's early move in the IAM market will pay off over the long haul.
The bottom line
We can't guarantee that these three businesses will go on to achieve market-beating gains. But whether we're talking about iRobot's new foray into the massive lawn-mower market, DXC's modest valuation and enviable growth, or Okta's central niche in a large, fast-growing industry, our contributors believe chances are high they'll do just that. And we think investors would do well to put their money to work accordingly.
Anders Bylund has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Chris Neiger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Steve Symington owns shares of iRobot. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends iRobot and Okta. The Motley Fool is short shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.