Five Tech Stocks That Crushed The Market In March 2016

The year 2016 started off with some of the most volatile trading in recent times. Slowdown in the Chinese economy coupled with sliding oil prices set off alarm bells every now and then at all the major domestic indexes, fueling concerns of a global economic slowdown.

“March” to the Rescue

However, things started improving in March (specifically latter half of February) with crude prices recovering from their 12-year lows and the Fed adopting a different stance on rate hikes giving a fresh lease of life to indices.

Oil prices have recovered from below $30 and are now perched slightly under $40. Russia and other members of OPEC are gearing up for a meet this month to consider a supply freeze, which has boosted investor sentiment. Also, Iran is showing interest in attending the meeting after being reluctant earlier on. Weaker-than-expected rise in crude inventories and a weaker dollar are causing oil prices to stabilize. Brent crude rose 10% and WTI crude increased 14% in March.

Further, Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen addressed the markets and said the Fed wasn’t going to hike interest rates four times as projected last December. Instead it will hike rates twice this year as “global and financial developments continue to pose risks." For the time being, interest rates continue to stay between 0.25% and 0.50%.

Also, with improved third GDP estimate for fourth quarter of 2015 (1.4% against 1% projected earlier) and 4.9% unemployment rate for February, the U.S economy seems on a road to recovery. All these factors contributed to higher demand for riskier assets causing surges in the stock market amid bouts of occasional volatility. We remain positive ahead of the jobs report today.

In March, the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and NASDAQ Composite index grew 6.6%, 7.1% and 6.8%, respectively. For the first quarter, the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) were up 0.8% and 1.5% whereas NASDAQ Composite ended the quarter in red, down 2.8%.

Tech Sector Performance

The volatility has its fair share of impact on the technology sector. For the first quarter of this year, The S&P North American Technology Sector Index is just up 0.1% as against 0.8% for S&P 500. However, we believe that it is too early to call out the sector now because the stronger season is typically in the back half of the year and there are other catalysts that can increase technology spending very rapidly.

Also, the buzz surrounding cloud computing, AR/ VR and AI technology keeps investors’ interest in the sector alive. It’s also important to note that tech companies have huge cash balances that should help in facilitating organic and inorganic expansion.

5 Tech Stocks that Outperformed in March

Despite technology sector being a relative underperformer, there were certain tech stocks that individually outperformed the indices. We highlight five such Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stocks that gained significantly over the past one-month period and come across as attractive investment options.

Apigee Corporation (APIC - Snapshot Report)

Apigee Corp offers an application program interface based software platform. The company's products consist of Apigee Edge, Apigee Insights, Apigee Developer and Apigee Link.

Founded in 2004, this San Jose based company, which sports a Zacks Rank #1 has seen its share price jump 42.1% in the past one month. Moreover, it has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the trailing four quarters by an average of 22.8%.

Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS - Analyst Report)

Stratasys is one of the leading 3D printing solution providers. It manufactures in-office rapid prototyping (RP) and manufacturing systems and 3D printers for automotive, aerospace, defense, electronic, medical, education and consumer product original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).

Headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN, Stratasys, which sports a Zacks Rank #1, has witnessed a 37.5% rise in its share price in the past month.Moreover, it has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last four quarters by an average of 83.3%.

Inphi Corporation (IPHI - Snapshot Report)

Inphi Corp operates as a provider of high-speed analog & mixed signal semiconductor solutions which are used in high-performance systems such as enterprise networking, equipment, telecommunications & transport systems, datacenters, enterprise servers and so on.

Headquartered in Santa Clara, CA, this Zacks Rank #1 stock has seen its market cap grow 31.8% last month. Moreover, it has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the trailing four quarters by an average of 64.0%.

Semtech Corporation (SMTC - Snapshot Report)

Semtech Corp designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of analog and mixed- signal semiconductors, including Standard Semiconductor Products, Rectifier and Assembly Products.

Camarillo, CA based Semtech, which carries a Zacks Rank #1, has gained over 14.8% in the past four weeks. If we look at Semtech’s trailing four quarter performance, then it has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 14.7%.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company (HPE - Snapshot Report)

Hewlett Packard Enterprise was formed recently after its parent company Hewlett Packard split into two separate entities in Nov 2015. The split came as Hewlett-Packard was struggling to keep pace with recent trends like the rise of smartphones and cloud computing. Though its PC business and Service based business contributed evenly to revenues, the low margin PC business proved to be a drag. As a result, the split became imminent.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise now takes care of the high-margin Enterprise Services, Enterprise Group, Software and Financial Services. Given the bright prospects, investors have shown interest in this Zacks Rank #2 stock, leading to a 34.1% surge in its price in March.

Looking Ahead

The abovementioned stocks have grabbed the spotlight with striking performances supported by solid earnings beat and bright prospects. With this in mind, we believe that investing in these stocks would yield strong returns for your portfolio in the short term.

Disclosure: None.

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