4 Technology Stocks in the Spotlight Ahead of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day (Nov 23) that marks the beginning of the month-long holiday season is just a few days away. Most Americans wait for the fourth Thursday of November every year to begin shopping for the festive season. Hence, higher consumer consumption boosts the overall economy, which is reflected in the movement of the stock market.
Per CNBC, since 1945, the S&P 500 has risen 75% during the Thanksgiving week with an average gain of 0.6%.
Consumer Confidence Up
Consumer Confidence — a key determinant of the economy’s health — reached its highest level in almost 17 years. Per the Conference Board data, the Consumer Confidence Index surged to 125.9 last month from September’s revised reading of 120.6.
Analysts believe that a buoyant stock market, gradual wage acceleration, fall in unemployment rate to a 16-year low, and rising economic activity post-hurricanes were enough to boost consumer sentiment.
We can therefore anticipate a surge in consumer spending in the upcoming holiday season.
Technology Momentum Continues
The technology sector is benefiting from increasing demand for cloud-based platforms as well as growing adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions, Augmented/Virtual reality devices, autonomous cars, advanced driver assisted systems (ADAS), Big Data and expanding usage of Internet of Things (IoT) related software.
The rise in consumer confidence bodes well for the technology sector, which has been one of the hot sectors for investors this year. The optimism surrounding the technology sector is well reflected in its year-to-date performance.
Notably, the Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF XLK has gained 31.5% on a year-to-date basis, compared with the S&P 500’s gain of 15.7%.
Let’s now focus on four technology stocks that are poised well ahead of the Thanksgiving week.
Apple Inc. AAPL
Apple is launching its latest smartphone, iPhone X, in 14 countries during the Thanksgiving period (Nov 23-24). Buoyed by anticipation of strong performance of the device, the company has given a very encouraging outlook for the current quarter, which includes the holiday season.
Recently, TechCrunch was quoted citing Canalys’ data that Apple has surpassed China’s Xiaomi to once again become the world’s top wearable producer, following the September launch of its third-generation Apple Watch. Apple expects the demand for the device to rise in the holiday season.
This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock has a VGM Score of B. Long-term EPS growth for the company is projected to be 11.2%.
Alphabet Inc. GOOGL
Alphabet-owned Google, the largest search engine, recently launched a tool that accesses historical data from Google Maps to provide insights to users related to the most-visited places during the holidays as well as the suitable time to hit the road in order to avoid traffic.
This will make it easier for people to deal with the Thanksgiving rush. It will provide them with search trends related to food, entertainment, shopping and traffic.
The holiday season may see a surge in demand in the home assistance space. Google Home performs an array of tasks such as playing music, reading books, managing calendars, answering queries, searching places, calling over cabs, controlling smart home devices and so forth. Therefore, user engagement with these devices rises during this period.
This Zacks Rank #3 stock has a VGM Score of B. Long-term EPS growth for the company is projected to be 18.4%.
Facebook Inc. FB
Facebook, the leading social networking platform, is doing remarkably well driven by the rise in user growth and engagement. The platform’s huge user base of over 2 billion combined with Instagram’s strong user base of 800 million makes it highly attractive to advertisers.
Ahead of Thanksgiving, the company, on Nov 16, announced the launch of an app on iOS devices for creators to “manage their presence” on the platform. The app will be rolled out to Android users in the coming days.
Moreover, Facebook’s latest website launch for creators will assist them to “find resources and tips on how to create great videos, connect with fans, and grow on Facebook.”
We believe the company’s efforts to ramp up video content on its platform, given the lucrative market opportunity for streaming services, will help it to draw the attention of more users and thereby attract more advertising revenues during the holiday season.
This Zacks Rank #3 stock has a VGM Score of B. Long-term EPS growth for the company is currently projected to be 26.8%.
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