There are plenty of aggressively valued tech stocks. Fast-growing companies often invite investor interest and enthusiasm, and lead to rich multiples. But are there bargains to be found as well? We asked three Motley Fool contributors to pick the most undervalued tech stocks in the market today. Read on to see what they had to say about Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), and Take-Two Interactive (NASDAQ:TTWO)
Joe Tenebruso (Google): At Tier 1 Investments, a Motley Fool Real-Money Portfolio, I seek out and invest in the world's elite businesses. These include companies with the strongest competitive advantages, largest growth opportunities, and excellent management. They are the innovators, disruptors, and best of breed. These businesses are ... Tier 1.
I seek out the best businesses because they often turn out to be the best investments. However, investors often miss out on these opportunities because the stocks of premium companies almost always look expensive, except in the rearview mirror. Yet every so often the market offers us an opportunity to purchase shares in Tier 1 enterprises at truly outstanding prices. Today, we have before us one such opportunity in Google.
Google is my largest holding in Tier 1. That's because no other company has such a powerful combination of a deep and widening competitive moat, long-term secular growth opportunities, and an attractive valuation.
Google remains the undisputed leader in Internet search in most areas of the world, and is constantly expanding its reach with an ever-growing array of services such as Google Maps, Gmail, and Chrome. Its popular Android operating system positions it at the vanguard of the mobile revolution, while YouTube gives Google dominance in the fast-growing video ad market. Maybe most importantly, Google's culture of innovation helps it remain at the forefront of the latest technological developments, as its ultra-talented employees often help create them.
Yet today, with shares of Google trading for around 500 per share, a partial ownership position in this elite business can be had for a value price. At a forward P/E of 17 (which falls below 15 if you back out Google's net cash position) compared to an expected long-term growth rate of 17, Google remains one of the most reasonably priced stocks I follow. As such, Foolish investors may wish to consider purchasing shares in this Tier 1 enterprise.
Bob Ciura (Qualcomm): My pick for an extremely undervalued technology stock is chipmaker Qualcomm. Qualcomm's stock performed poorly in 2014, only up about 2% versus a 13% gain for the S&P 500. Investors shied away from Qualcomm last year, mostly due to the ongoing investigations it's facing: Qualcomm's patent licensing practices are being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission in the United States, and Qualcomm is also under investigation by the China National Development and Reform Commission. This headline risk, that Qualcomm is about to get walloped by financial penalties, has kept investors on the sidelines.
Underneath the headlines, however, is a company growing like a weed. Qualcomm's products are in high demand all across the world. In fiscal 2014, Qualcomm set records for revenue, adjusted earnings per share, device sales, and MSM shipments, and revenue and earnings per share grew 7% and 19%, respectively. This is because of an impressive product lineup. Qualcomm's Snapdragon processor, for example, gives smartphones longer battery life and higher speeds, and it's used in smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy and HTC One. The Snapdragon is the first processor to offer system-level ultra HD support and 4K video capture and playback.
Investors shouldn't be overly concerned with the financial penalties Qualcomm might face. Reuters recently reported a potential settlement with China could cost Qualcomm more than $1 billion. This is surely a lot of money, but Qualcomm holds $32 billion in cash and marketable securities on its balance sheet, so it could easily withstand such a penalty. And once the situation is finally resolved, investors can once again focus on the company's strong growth. Trading at just 16 times trailing earnings, Qualcomm is cheap considering the company still expects 14% growth in operating profit at the top of its fiscal 2015 forecast.
Sam Mattera (Take-Two Interactive): Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive isn't the cheapest stock on the market, but with a trailing price-to-earnings ratio in the mid-20s, it offers an attractive valuation as the current console cycle continues to ramp.
Take-Two's most recent marquee title, Grand Theft Auto 5, has become one of the best-selling video games of all time. Originally released in the fall of 2013, Grand Theft Auto 5 sold at least 34 million copies on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. In November, Take-Two re-released the game for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and despite many gamers having already played it, Take-Two once again dominated the sales charts. According to research firm NPD, Grand Theft Auto 5 was the second-best selling video game in the U.S. during the key month of November.
That large install base should add meaningfully to Take-Two's digital receipts. Grand Theft Auto Online, the multiplayer version of Grand Theft Auto 5, encourages gamers to spend money on the game long after they've purchased it. Last quarter, Take-Two reported that recurrent digital spending linked to Grand Theft Auto Online meaningfully added to its revenue.
Take-Two investors should also benefit from the upcoming release of Evolve, an innovative multiplayer shooter on pace to debut next month, and a widely rumored sequel to Red Dead Redemption, one of the best-selling and best-reviewed games of last generation.