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Forrester Data Signals Hot Tech Stocks

Forrester predicts worldwide IT sales will increase 8.1% in 2010, putting an end to the rotten recession in which the industry's been mired for at least the past 18 months. But which vendors will benefit the most from the rebound?
Forrester predicts worldwide IT sales will increase 8.1% in 2010, putting an end to the rotten recession in which the industry's been mired for at least the past 18 months. But which vendors will benefit the most from the rebound?First off, Forrester's projections appear roughly consistent with Wall Street's expectations for IT. Most analysts believe tech's major players are in line for solid growth in the upcoming year. Who will see the biggest gains?

Here's a list of tier one IT vendors (I left out Google because most of its revenue comes from ad spending, but we'll keep our eye on Nexus One), and their anticipated revenue increases from their current fiscal year to their next fiscal year. I compiled the numbers from analyst estimates published by the Thomson Financial Network.

Of course, stock price is influenced by many factors beyond revenue growth. Earnings, naturally, play a big part, as do key ratios like P/E, Return on Equity, Return on Investment, and the like. So don't quit your full-time job and start day-trading on this info. (But if you do, and score big, I want 20%).

Here's the vendors' projected, year-over-year sales gains:

Apple: 16.8% Intel: 12.3% Cisco: 10.2% Dell: 9.29% Microsoft: 8.06% Oracle: 6.6% Hewlett-Packard 4.7% IBM: 3.2%

So there we have it, a mean expected revenue gain of 8.9% for the industry's top players through 2010-11. That number lines up nicely with Forrester's predicted 8.1% increase in global customer spending. As you can see, Apple's at the head of the pack, and IBM is bringing up the rear. Does Armonk need to introduce a BluePhone? Perhaps not.

Some vendors on the list, including IBM, held up fairly well during the downturn, so they won't see as big a rebound as others, like Dell, which really tanked.

Also, some of the companies, again including IBM, just wrapped up their last fiscal year in December. That's potentially significant because if Forrester's bounce back doesn't kick in until the second half, those vendors will experience only about six months of recovery in their current fiscal year.

A vendor like Microsoft, on the other hand, begins its fiscal year in July. Meaning the delta from its current year to the next will cover all of H2 2010 and whatever goodness is brought by the first six months of 2011, when things could really be humming.

So take these numbers for what they are: Some quick and dirty data that backs up Forrester analyst Andrew Bartel's contention that "the technology downturn of 2008 and 2009 is unofficially over."

Champagne, anyone?

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