The Ratings Game: Here are some ‘stand-out’ tech names worth owning in market turmoil, says analyst

The coronavirus outbreak and market selloff aren’t reasons to stop investing in tech names, according to Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives, though he said that investors should be selective about the stocks they pick.

Ives outlined a few “stand-out” tech stocks Thursday that he argued could be more resilient in times of uncertainty and volatility. They include big names like Microsoft Corp. MSFT, +14.22% and Apple Inc. AAPL, +11.98% as well as a slew of smaller software plays, such as Zscaler Inc. ZS, +6.05% and DocuSign Inc. DOCU, +12.58%

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“Does an economic slowdown impact these models and valuations?” Ives asked. “The answer is a clear YES. However, looking past the fear and panic (and a potential short lived economic dent/softness), we believe these high priority areas of spending and business models have attractive risk/rewards looking ahead and we would be buying these tech names at current levels.”

For Apple, Ives is upbeat that the company can withstand near-term challenges and benefit from the 5G upgrade cycle that’s expected later this year. Carriers have started to roll out 5G service, and Apple is thought to be planning its first launch of a 5G-enabled phone for the fall.

Ives’ other picks are in the software space. “We also believe that a surge of strategic and financial buyer driven M&A could be on the horizon over the coming months as valuations start to reach levels which can ignite a long overdue deal frenzy that could start to put a floor on the software sector as well,” he wrote.

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In cloud computing, he lists Microsoft, DocuSign, Nice Systems Ltd. NICE, +5.60%, J2 Global Inc. JCOM, +2.13%, and Nuance Communications Inc. NUAN, +0.78% as his preferred picks. In cybersecurity, he points to Zscaler, Varonis Systems Inc. VRNS, +2.12%, SailPoint Technologies Holdings Inc. SAIL, +2.38%, CyberArk Software Ltd. CYBR, +5.57%, and Tenable Holdings Inc. TENB, +8.96%

“We continue to believe there is limited risk to software models in the near-term (~1%-3%) due to pushed out near-term demand, as we focus on more normalized FY21 numbers/valuations given the lack of clarity over the coming months around economic/health/government policy,” he wrote.

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Ives’ note comes as the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +9.35% is off 6% in Thursday trading, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +9.36% is down 7.2% and the S&P 500 SPX, +9.29% is off 6.2%.