With the innovation sector moving at full speed, it’s time for investors to consider the best tech stocks to buy now but not necessarily for the reason you might assume. Yes, the exchange-traded fund Technology Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEARCA:XLK) has easily outperformed the benchmark SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSEARCA:SPY) over the past five years, 159% to 68%.
However, so many formerly high-flying ideas have incurred much more modest performances recently. In particular, enterprises that banked on the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution have seen investment dollar outflows. Given shaky circumstances in the wider economy along with concerns about individual ideas being overheated, the best tech stocks to buy now may be different from what they were earlier in 2023.
For the purposes of this article, I’d like to discuss less-appreciated ideas; basically, companies not named Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA). There’s still a wealth of viable opportunities out there that deserve attention. With that, below are the best tech stocks to consider at the present juncture.
A multinational designer, developer, manufacturer, and global supplier of semiconductor and infrastructure software products, Broadcom (NASDAQ:AVGO) commands exceptional relevance. In particular, the burgeoning data center industry – while fiercely competitive – should catalyze long-term demand. Unsurprisingly, investors recognize the opportunity, bidding up AVGO to 57% since the January opener.
To be fair, shares have been flat since mid-June. Nevertheless, AVGO could be appealing on a relative scale, making it a worthy candidate for best tech stocks to buy now. For example, AVGO trades at a forward earnings multiple of 19.22x, just a bit below the sector median of 20.32x. Nevertheless, that’s a lot better than many other chipmakers that experienced a dramatic lift in their earnings multiple.
Also, Broadcom enjoys growth potential and offers passive income. Right now, it carries a forward yield of 2.12%, which isn’t overly generous. Still, it’s a lot better than nothing, which is what you’ll often get from upstart tech stocks. Analysts rate AVGO a strong buy with a $984.94 target, implying over 13% upside.
Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip (NASDAQ:MCHP) manufactures microcontrollers, mixed-signal, analog, and flash-IP integrated circuits. While I wouldn’t characterize Microchip as a household name (since it plays more of an infrastructure “stagehand” role), it’s vitally important to the overall tech ecosystem. However, MCHP has gained only 11% since the January opener, potentially making it a discounted play among the best tech stocks.
Notably, it’s not just a budget play in the charts but also in the financials. Right now, shares trade at 12.54x forward earnings, which ranks favorably lower than 77.2% of sector rivals. Also, the market prices MCHP at 12.94X free cash flow (FCF), lower than the semiconductor industry’s median of 22.43x. Operationally, MCHP is looking at an above-average three-year revenue growth rate of 13.7%. Also, its FCF growth rate during the same period comes in at 25%, above 71% of the competition.
Analysts peg shares a strong buy with a $98.23 target, projecting upside of 28%.
Zebra Technologies (ZBRA)
A riskier idea among candidates for best tech stocks to buy at this hour, Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ:ZBRA) is a mobile computing firm specializing in technology used to sense, analyze, and act in real-time. Per its public profile, this concept is often referred to as smart data capture. Fundamentally, Zebra should help spark efficiencies for its clients’ supply chain management protocols.
While the narrative entices, investors will need to be aware of the volatility. Since the beginning of this year, ZBRA lost about 21% of its equity value. Just in the trailing one-month period, shares slipped roughly 13%. Still, bold contrarians may argue that ZBRA has been de-risked enough to warrant some exposure.
To be fair, ZBRA trading at 15x forward earnings isn’t exactly undervalued. Still, it is relatively de-risked from the 29.15x forward multiple printed in December 2021. Also, analysts rate ZBRA a moderate buy with a $296.14 price target, which implies a growth potential of nearly 44%.
Seemingly running for the “Industry Word Salad of 2023 Award,” Ecovyst (NYSE:ECVT) puts prospective investors through the wringer about identifying what the company actually does. To make a long story short, Ecovyst is positioning itself to be a leader in clean energy and recycling solutions. It aims to accomplish this directive via sulfuric acid processing and catalyst technologies.
It’s a risky idea among the so-called best tech stocks to buy. Since the beginning of the year, ECVT has only gained a bit over 3% of market value. In the past 30 days, shares have slipped more than 9%. Honestly, Ecovyst’s own jargon-loaded and confusing website doesn’t help. Still, let’s focus on the positives.
Right now, the company clocks a three-year revenue growth rate of 15.6%, above nearly 68% of its peers. Also, shares trade at forward earnings multiple of 8.26x, favorably lower than 76% of the competition. Enticingly, analysts peg ECVT as a unanimous strong buy with a $13.80 price target, implying 51% growth.
Procept BioRobotics (PRCT)
Headquartered in Redwood City, California, Procept BioRobotics (NASDAQ:PRCT) is a surgical robotics firm. It specializes in developing innovative medical solutions to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Notably, BPH can lead to myriad urinary symptoms, adversely affecting quality of life. Naturally, one of the key benefits of Procept’s solution is that it’s minimally invasive, and reduces complications associated with traditional surgeries.
In full disclosure, it must be stated that PRCT represents a significant risk among the best tech stocks. Since the start of the year, shares slipped just a bit over 29%. Nevertheless, forward-looking investors will probably appreciate the total addressable market. According to Grand View Research, the global surgical robots industry may see revenue of $18.2 billion by 2030.
In fairness, investors will be absorbing financial risk as well. Despite the red ink in the charts, PRCT trades at 12.45X sales, which is wildly high. Still, analysts rate Procept a consensus strong buy with a $43.17 target, projecting nearly 54% upside.
Not exactly a pure-play idea for best tech stocks, NerdWallet (NASDAQ:NRDS) nevertheless heavily incorporates digital solutions to deliver its core personal finance messaging. Through its website and app, NerdWallet helps direct individuals to make wiser money-related decisions. As well, the company covers innovative financial technology (fintech) platforms such as neobanks and how they impact individual consumers.
Especially at this juncture, a brand like NerdWallet could go a long way. Recently, total credit card debt dubiously surpassed the $1 trillion milestone. While you could make the argument that collective plastic usage symbolizes confidence in the underlying financial system, it also runs counter to good old common sense. You don’t want to run such high debt loads ahead of economic uncertainty.
And you know what? NerdWallet carries no debt on its balance sheet, so it’s not a hypocrite. Plus, it could see increased demand since it’s clear folks need help with their budgeting. Analysts peg NRDS as a moderate buy with a $16.17 target, implying nearly 122% growth.
A clash of expectations, Semtech (NASDAQ:SMTC) is wildly risky as it just recently demonstrated. In the Oct. 19 session, SMTC utterly collapsed, losing almost 20% of its equity value. Catalyzing the red ink was a company announcement that it will attempt to raise $250 million through a private placement. Unfortunately, the move has dilution implications, leading to a severe correction.
I’m not going to engage in toxic positivity and say that’s good news for current stakeholders. No, it stinks, let’s be real. However, for speculators just entering into the opportunity, SMTC could be intriguing. As a supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors and advanced algorithms for various end markets, it commands extraordinary relevance.
Financially, Semtech is going through a rough patch, posting a trailing-12-month (TTM) net loss of nearly $440 million. At the same time, the company has been steadily expanding its top line since its fiscal year ended in January 2020. Finally, analysts love SMTC, rating it a unanimous strong buy with a $35.67 target, implying over 123% upside.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.