Harriet Lefton

About the Author Harriet Lefton

Harriet originates from the UK where she worked as a journalist specializing in the metal markets. She graduated from the University of Cambridge before becoming a qualified UK lawyer.

Top Growth Stocks in Tech for 2018: Facebook Inc (FB), Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Micron Technology, Inc. (MU)

These tech stocks all have a "strong buy" consensus rating at TipRanks.

The tech sector is one of the strongest sectors in the market right now, and it looks like the same will hold true for 2018. Indeed, a recent Goldman Sachs report told investors that the best sectors to invest in right now are tech and financial.

Strategist David Kostin wrote “Put simply, growth will drive technology share prices higher.” Similarly Credit Suisse analyst Jonathan Golub says “Technology is our favorite sector despite elevated multiples. Fundamentals remain strong given the group’s exposure to secular growth themes in subgroups such as internet and software-as-a-service.”

So, bearing this in mind, we decided to look for some top tech growth ideas for 2018. To do this, I turned to TipRanks’ innovative ‘Most Recommended Stocks‘ tool. Top-recommended stocks are selected based on a TipRanks’ developed formula, factoring in ratings made by the best performing analysts.

Now let’s delve deeper into our five top stock picks for your 2018 portfolio:

Facebook Inc

Social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is looking pretty unstoppable right now.

Top RBC capital analyst Mark Mahaney makes an interesting observation based on FB’s trading patterns. He notes that Facebook is currently trading 9% below its historical forward average. This is in stark contrast to internet stocks like Alphabet and Netflix that are actually trading above their historical forward averages. The conclusion: compared to many large-cap internet stocks, FB has space to grow over the next year.

Indeed, Mahaney writes: “Facebook continues to have a LONG revenue runway ahead of it.” A key catalyst for the stock is the very bullish outlook from marketers who advertise on FB. Mahaney says: “We view the overall high rate of spending on Facebook (91% of marketers allocate a portion of their Online budget to FB) as a strong positive; it shows us that Facebook continues to be a dominant force in not just Social Media, but also advertising as a whole.”

Plus note that a record 66% of respondents to RBC’s marketer survey are planning to “increase” their FB budget, with only 5% planning to “decrease,” and you can see why this is a top stock for 2018 and beyond. For example, Credit Suisse’s Stephen Ju has also just carried out his own positive advertiser checks. This five-star analyst was so encouraged by the results that he has now boosted his price target from $190 all the way to $235 (35% upside).

Overall, 31 analysts have published buy ratings on FB in the last three months versus just two hold ratings and one sell rating. If we combine the price targets from all these analysts, the average comes in at $199 (13.59% upside).

Apple Inc.

I believe that Apple’s momentum is only set to increase as we roll into the next year. Case in point: the recent stock upgrade from five-star KeyBanc analyst Andy Hargreaves. This analyst is famously on the fence when it comes to Apple stock, so his upgrade speaks volumes. On Oct. 15, he upgraded AAPL from “hold” to “buy” with a shiny $187 price target (17% upside).

For Hargreaves, Apple’s “aggressive market segmentation” strategy is now so promising that it overshadows concerns about an iPhone sale slowdown. Hargreaves says he is still “pessimistic” about the iPhone’s multicycle unit growth but “Apple’s expanded market segmentation strategy seems likely to drive average gross profit per user above our previous expectations.”

This strategy involves Apple bumping up the price of its base-model high-end iPhones. At $999 (before sales tax) the iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone ever made. And this is just with basic storage of 64GB. Because Apple is now charging more ($150 up from $100) for increased storage possibilities, while sneakily removing the option to increase storage to 128GB. Now the next data storage upgrade is 256GB. And Apple is ensuring that most of this cost is passed on. Hargreaves says: “Our conversations with suppliers suggest Apple will bear little of the cost associated with current yield issues around the iPhone X … in contrast to our previous expectations.”

We can see from TipRanks that Apple has regained its “Strong Buy” rating. In the last three months, the stock has received 22 buy ratings and seven hold ratings. Based on these ratings, the average $176.61 price target on AAPL stock translates into upside of over 12% from the current share price.

Micron Technology, Inc.

If I had to pick one key stock to bet on for 2018, Micron Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:MU) could well be it. This booming semiconductor stock has already soared by nearly 140% in the last year. Now Micron has just announced that it is redeeming $2.25 billion of debt well ahead of time. And luckily for investors, analysts are predicting that MU still has a great run ahead.

In the last three months, MU has received 22 buy ratings and just two hold ratings from the Street. The average analyst price target stands at $50.39 — over 20% upside from the current share price.

Note that this is just the average price target from all analysts covering the stock. Several top analysts have published more bullish predictions. Take, for example, top Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis. He recently ramped up his MU price target from $40 to $60 (48% upside potential). Curtis is confident that memory trends for both DRAM and NAND will continue to stay strong well into 2018.

DRAM prices “continue to improve at a strong pace” while supply constraints for NAND should continue into the second half of next year. Curtis pins this on the “insatiable demand” for flash from data center customers.

If you are still feeling dubious, take into account Curtis’ track record on MU stock. TipRanks shows that across his 12 Micron ratings, Curtis has a very impressive 100% success rate and 85% average return.

Meanwhile the stock’s highest price target ($76) comes from Needham’s Rajvindra Gill — who also boasts a very strong track record. He says “We don’t believe we are at the peak of the cycle as end markets for DRAM are significantly more diverse than in years past; stabilizing the volatility of the pricing and perhaps lengthening the contracts. Moreover, memory is crucial for server deployment, AI advancement, autonomous driving as well as core demand for smartphone content growth.”