The shares of once high-flying big technology stocks such as Facebook Inc. (FB) and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) have fallen sharply off their highs this year, prompting many investors to argue that the sell-off signals an end to the market dominance of the so-called FAANG stocks. But Brian White at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co. says the downdraft provides a perfect buying opportunity, per an interview with CNBC. “There are some great secular trends in this group,” White said. (See also: ‘Occupy Silicon Valley’ Trend Could Hurt Tech Stocks.)
White recommends Facebook, Apple Inc. (AAPL), Alphabet, and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) as the most attractive among the major technology stocks, with each offering big upside potential. These stocks also make up four of the five FAANG members. White left the fifth FAANG, Netflix Inc. (NFLX), off his buy list, and no wonder. Despite its recent pullback, Netflix trades at a lofty price-to-earnings multiple of 215.18, compared to the average Nasdaq 100 company which trades at 25.75 times earnings.
Weakness in tech dragged the Nasdaq Composite into correction territory earlier in April for the first time in two years. While the Nasdaq 100 Index has gained 4% year-to-date (YTD), outperforming the broader S&P 500’s near flat run over the same period, the tech-heavy index is down 7.4% from its 52-week high, compared to the S&P 500’s 7% fall from its high earlier this year.
A large number of bears argue that these big tech stocks are still way too expansive – and too risky – even at their lower prices at this late stage of the bull market. But White disagrees. Here is why he likes Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet.
White recommends buying shares of iPhone maker Apple, foreseeing the stock gaining 34% to $235. “The fact that Warren Buffett got involved in this name should tell you something,” said the analyst, per CNBC. Apple, viewed as a main beneficiary of the massive GOP tax cuts, is expected to repatriate over $120 billion in cash from overseas in the next six years. White suggests that “insatiable appetite” for Apple’s products in China should outweigh any negative impact of a potential trade war. Apple is trading up 3.7% YTD and at a forward 2018 P/E ratio of 15.3, according to Nasdaq data. (See also: Apple Could Easily Double Dividend.)
Facebook’s ‘Money Machine’
White calls Facebook a “money machine,” according to CNBC. Facebook saw about $100 billion shaved off of its market capitalization in the weeks following news of its most recent user data scandal related to Cambridge Analytica. As a result, the stock is “unbelievably cheap,” according to White, per CNBC. He sees the stock, down near 7% YTD, jumping 22% to $200 within 12 months, after its chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg performed well during Congressional hearings. Facebook is trading at a forward 2018 P/E multiple of 23.02. At the same time, some stock pickers say they have sold part or all of their stake in Facebook due to concern about the company’s management and its future growth.
Amazon’s ‘Unstoppable’ Growth
White dubbed the growth of e-commerce giant Amazon an “unstoppable trend,” according to CNBC, despite recent criticism by President Donald Trump. Amazon’s stock sank earlier this month on tweets from the President suggesting that Amazon was underpaying the U.S. Postal Service. White indicated that the sell-off was an overreaction. He foresees shares gaining nearly 40% to $2,000 by early 2019. At a price of $1,440.52, AMZN is trading at a forward 2018 P/E ratio of 170.6 and reflects a 23.2% gain YTD.
Alphabet’s Cloud Sales
Shares of Alphabet are forecast to gain 23% over 12 months to a price of $1,280. The analyst told CNBC he is upbeat on prospects for high growth segments such as Google’s cloud platform and its artificial intelligence (AI) projects. Alphabet, parent of Google, has seen its shares fall 1.2% YTD and trades at a forward 2018 P/E ratio of 25.2.