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Apple Faces DOJ Scrutiny, but Not These 3 Under the Radar Names

Tech stocks

The Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed yet another antitrust lawsuit against consumer and technology giant Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). This time, the accusation centers on the belief that Apple has cornered—or monopolized—the smartphone market, making other competing products worse by force.

Apple says the accusations—and its logic—are wrong. After all, it isn’t Apple’s fault that its competitors haven’t been able to keep up with their technology in terms of design and capability. However, even if Apple emerges a winner from this clash, the timing of a settlement is still up for speculation.

Knowing this, you might want to consider adding more ‘low-keyed’ technology stocks to your watchlist, which are far from the government’s radar but well within Wall Street’s magnifying glass. Names like Upstart Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: UPST), Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP), and even Salesforce Inc. (NYSE: CRM) could become investor favorites, as the apple doesn’t fall far from the Apple tree when it comes to price action.

Upstart Can Kickstart Your Portfolio

No pun intended, but it is true. After falling to only 36% of its 52-week high, Wall Street analysts have a new reason to believe Upstart stock could return to its former glory.

Some analysts see this company's earnings per share (EPS) growing by 165% over the next 12 months, but the story doesn't end in numbers.

Now that the Federal Reserve (the Fed) is looking to cut interest rates this year, creating a bottom for the business cycle to land on and push higher again, Upstart’s customers (who range from personal loan borrowers to mortgages) will likely see a new reason to look to Upstart for solutions.

Lower interest rates can spark a new wave of financing activity in all these areas. Upstart is in the eye of the storm to originate these new loans and sell them to customers. In fact, some stocks exposed to this trend have already started a rally.

Just look at the 62% performance in Carvana Co. (NYSE: CVNA) so far this year or how Warren Buffett bought up shares in D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) ahead of these rate cuts. Betting on consumer financing of car loans and a new construction boom riding on cheaper mortgage financing, these two stocks give you a glimpse of the future.

This is why markets are willing to pay a forward P/E of 113x, compared to an industry average valuation of 14.6x forward P/E. There must be a good reason for markets to overpay for this stock; now you know one of them.

Others are realizing the upside potential of Upstart stock; institutions like the Vanguard Group increased their position by 2.3%, representing a transaction of roughly $6.5 million.

Likewise, the American International Group increased its exposure to Upstart stock by 1.2% in the past quarter. Given that Upstart is not part of the big tech names, recent adoption by these institutions could imply a certain feeling of added safety.

Snapchat’s Revival

The government also stretched its reach into other tech areas today, this time around social media. TikTok, the popular short-form content platform, could be banned from the U.S. market within five months. In a recent bill, U.S. officials demanded that TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, spin off the platform to avoid further national security concerns.

The gap to be filled by TikTok’s user base, a demographic that tends to stay around Instagram, owned by Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ: META), could also have a contagion effect to be picked up by Snap stock.

Knowing this, analysts at Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) boosted their price targets on the stock up to $16 as of February. These valuations would call for a rally of 40% from where the stock trades today.

But the buck doesn’t stop there; these same analysts projected EPS growth of 137% this year, pushing the stock’s potential even higher. All of this comes along when the stock is trading at 64% of its 52-week high, leaving a wide enough gap to be filled on a decent rally.

Salesforce is Tied to the Business Cycle

Being part of the business services sector has its perks. Salesforce stock could be set to take off once lower interest rates spark new business activity.

Showing signs of a bottoming, the ISM services PMI could see a turnaround in the coming months after a new business cycle takes on water.

It should be no surprise that Wall Street institutions like Fisher Asset Management – known for their macro value strategies – bought up to $203 million worth of Salesforce stock in the past quarter, increasing their position by 5.2%, according to ownership reports.

Analysts believe that Salesforce stock could see up to 15% EPS growth in the next 12 months, a significant prediction considering the company is a $289 billion behemoth in its industry.

This comes at a 4.9x price-to-book (P/B) valuation, which throws Salesforce a 62% discount to the industry’s 12.9x average P/B valuation today. Analysts at Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. (TSE: CF) see the stock going as high as $350 a share, nearly 14% higher than it trades today.

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