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Reminiscences of the Tech Bubble: 3 Former Darlings Eclipsing Prior Highs

3 Former Tech Darlings Eclipsing Prior Highs

This story originally appeared on Zacks

The Nasdaq Composite has a history of outperforming during bullish cycles and underperforming in bear markets. While the index is underperforming the S&P 500 this year, the past has illustrated that these periods of relative underperformance don’t tend to last very long.

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Both indexes are showing weak overall breadth. Only 39.1% of stocks in the S&P are trading above their 50-day moving average. The lagging Nasdaq is less than half that – just 17.5% of stocks are above their respective 50-day moving averages.

Back in the late ‘90s, many technology stocks increased drastically in price and experienced stretched valuations. Breadth in the major indexes was much stronger at the time as most stocks were up.

We know what happened next – stocks cratered as the Nasdaq fell into a multi-year descent. Financial media gurus claimed in the years that followed that even the biggest names would never see those high prices ever again.

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

Yet here we are, 20 years in the making, with a select few of the tech bubble darlings making new all-time highs. Many companies from that era were not structured to handle an economic downturn and didn’t survive to tell the tale. But the ones that are still here have proven time and again that they have what it takes to succeed through the different phases of the economic cycle.

These companies have adapted to changing times. They have been able to withstand market shocks, all the while consistently increasing revenues and rewarding shareholders. At Zacks, our job is to help you identify these stocks that are outperforming the market. Our proprietary model detects positive changes in individual company fundamentals, allowing our subscribers the opportunity to benefit from the stock’s future price appreciation.

Buying a stock at the right time and building a profit cushion makes it much easier to hold through the inevitable corrections. Unlike many investors in the tech bubble who rode the whole way down, at Zacks we also alert you to profit-taking opportunities and outright sell signals, helping you not just make money – but keep it as well.

The three former tech sweethearts we will discuss below have all surged past the highs from two decades ago and are holding up well through the recent volatility. Stocks that emerge from volatile periods relatively unscathed tend to continue their outperformance.

Qualcomm, Inc. (QCOM)

Qualcomm is a global leader in next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomms’ businesses include Qualcomm Technologies which handles its engineering, research and development functions; the company’s semiconductor business, QCT; and the licensing arm, QTL. Headquartered in San Diego, CA, QCOM designs, manufactures, and markets digital wireless telecom products including integrated circuits, wireless voice and data communications software, as well as global positioning system (GPS) products.

A Zacks #2 Buy stock, QCOM has either met or beaten earnings estimates in each of the last 28 quarters. The company has produced a trailing four-quarter average earnings surprise of +11.23%. QCOM most recently reported EPS of $2.24 back in November, an +8.74% surprise over consensus.

Qualcomm (QCOM) Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

QCOM continues to benefit from solid 5G traction and a surge in demand for its essential products and services that are the foundation for digital transformation in the cloud economy. The stock broke out of a long base in November and last week printed a fresh high as most stocks fell.

What the Zacks Model Reveals

The Zacks Earnings ESP (Expected Surprise Prediction) identifies companies that have recently witnessed positive earnings estimate revision activity. This more recent information can be a better predictor of the future and give investors a leg up during earnings season. In fact, when combining a Zacks #3 rank or better along with a positive Earnings ESP, stocks produced a positive surprise 70% of the time.

QCOM’s Earnings ESP is +0.87%. Analysts are in agreement in terms of earnings revisions and increased their estimates in the past 60 days for both the current fiscal year (+14.04%) as well as next year (+17.62%). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the present full-year EPS now stands at $10.48, a 22.72% growth rate over last year. QCOM is slated to report quarterly earnings on February 2nd, 2022.

Motorola Solutions, Inc. (MSI)

Motorola Solutions provides communication and networking equipment, devices, software and services. Based in Chicago, IL, Motorola Solutions has a strong market position in various areas including bar code scanning, wireless infrastructure gear, and government communications.

MSI operates through two divisions – Government and Enterprise. The Government segment develops radio systems, devices and control centers for governments around the world. The Enterprise segment is focused on mobile computing systems, advance data capture and wireless networks. Motorola management expects continued strength across video security and devices and is well-positioned to benefit from organic growth and acquisition initiatives.

MSI has also displayed an impressive track record in terms of earnings surprises, beating estimates for the past seven years running. The company has delivered an average surprise of +9.49% over the past four quarters. MSI delivered a 12.89% surprise in November when it reported EPS of $2.19 for the quarter ending in September.

Motorola Solutions (MSI) Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

MSI boasts one of the more attractive charts this year as the stock has advanced 53.6% with very little volatility. The stock is clearly in a strong uptrend and continues to make a series of new highs even as the major indices have taken a breather.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 EPS stands at $9.04, representing 17.56% growth over 2020. MSI will report earnings on February 3rd.

Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD)

Clearfield designs, manufactures and distributes fiber optic management, along with protection and associated products for communication networks. CLFD features the FieldSmart fiber management platform, which includes its latest generation Fiber Distribution System and Fiber Scalability Center. These product lines support a wide range of panel configurations, densities, and connectors. Headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, Clearfield deploys millions of fiber ports annually.

CLFD sports a Zacks #2 Buy ranking and has weathered the recent volatility extremely well. The stock has soared nearly 200% this year and is showing no signs of slowing down, hitting a new all-time high today.

Clearfield (CLFD) Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research

CLFD has surpassed earnings estimates in each of the past six quarters. The company is averaging a +50.77% surprise over the past year, most recently reporting EPS of $0.53 in November – a +29.27% surprise over estimates.

The stock has seen positive earnings estimate revision activity, with analysts upping their 2021 EPS estimates by +8.82% in the last 60 days. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current year EPS sits at $1.85, translating to 25.85% growth over 2020. CLFD is due to report earnings next month on January 27th.

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