From the dot-come bubble, tech has now become a preferred trade on Wall Street. Computer and software makers are having a ball as the White House’s initiative to trim tax rates are providing the much needed windfall to companies that have mostly hoarded money outside the United States.
The corporate tax rate has been trimmed from 35% to 21%, while any income brought back from overseas is taxed 8% to 15.5%, instead of the current 35%. This extra cash is helping tech bigwigs pursue a combination of share buybacks, dividend payouts and M&A activities. The prospect of a cut in personal taxation is also a major driving force for big tech firms. With more cash in hand, investors have more room to invest.
Substantial growth in cloud computing and the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, gaming and the launches of increasingly complex smartphones and consumer electronics, too are expected to be huge growth driver for tech majors.
But, it’s just not the macro factors that are propelling tech behemoths. It’s their CEOs that are also playing a major part in their success story. Their personality, drive, skills, intellect and passion stand in good stead.
With that in mind, here’s a list of four of the best CEOs in the tech space, as determined by the humongous growth in their company’s stock.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Social media giant, Facebook, Inc. FB — a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company — made its debut on Wall Street at $38 per share on May 2012. Since then, the stock has jumped to nearly $215 a share. During this phase, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has pulled the company forward. During his tenure, the provider of various products to connect and share through mobile devices and personal computers saw its stock grow more than 30% per year.
Zuckerberg has been striving to improve products within Facebook’s ecosystem. He has also been looking for strategic acquisitions, some of which in recent times includes WhatsApp and Instagram. He continues to study new technology and unveil features, even if he didn’t invent them.
Zuckerberg, thus, remaining at the helm of Facebook, will surely help the company make giant strides in the near future. The stock’s estimated earnings and revenue growth for the current year is a solid 25.3% and 40.9%, respectively.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings rose 0.8% in the last 60 days. To top it, the company has an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 18.9%. Companies with positive earnings surprise are more likely to come up with positive results in the near term (read more: Should You Buy Facebook Stock Ahead of Q2 Earnings?).
Facebook, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
Facebook, Inc. price-eps-surprise | Facebook, Inc. Quote
Satya Nadella, Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation MSFT, in the first half of this decade, looked like an old fashioned tech company with not much scope for growth. Innovation had taken a backseat, while markets pundits remained mostly neutral. Things turned after Nadella took charge of Microsoft. He became the CEO in February 2014, when the share price was just above $32 a share. Now, the share price has surged to all-time high of $107 per share, which implies a compounded annual return in excess of 30%.
In other words, Nadella’s focus on clouds helped the developer of software products, services and devices progress by leaps and bounds. Nadella took quite a few valuable assets like Microsoft Office and moved them to the cloud, and created cloud-hosted software services.
This transition boosted the company’s profit margin and revenue growth, making its future look brighter than its peers. The stock’s projected earnings and revenue growth for the current year is 8.8% and 10.4%, respectively.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings jumped 6.3% in the last 60 days. Additionally, the company has an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 11.4%.
If this wasn’t enough, Microsoft flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Microsoft Corporation Price and EPS Surprise
Microsoft Corporation price-eps-surprise | Microsoft Corporation Quote
Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN is now a global retail and cloud powerhouse, all thanks to Jeff Bezos who helped Amazon climb from a $300 million start-up in 1997 to nearly $880 billion today. In the process, he catapulted to the position of the world’s richest man. And it wasn’t easy. He had adopted a ruthless growth strategy that yielded rich dividends.
Bezos was pitiless on pricing. He did that by trimming prices to near break-even levels so as to push rivals out of the market. He was merciless when it came to perks as well. He offered free shipping so as to out price-competitors. And when it came to market expansion, he was ruthless as well. He not only disrupted the mall retail market but also bought Whole Foods to pose stiff competition to the grocery market.
Bezos has led Amazon successfully in the booming e-commerce and cloud markets. Both these markets have a lot of firepower left. Thus, if you are looking for a strong stock, Amazon is surely a great choice. After all, the company has a Zacks Rank #2 as well.
The stock’s estimated earnings and revenue growth for the current year is a whopping 178.9% and 33.7%, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings jumped 46% in the last 90 days. To top it, the company has an astounding average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 1,303.3%.
Amazon.com, Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
Amazon.com, Inc. price-eps-surprise | Amazon.com, Inc. Quote
Tim Cook, Apple
It’s been a monumental run for Apple Inc. AAPL — a Zacks Rank #2 company — in the past few months, with the release of products such as iPhone X, iPhone 8 and 8 plus, a new Apple watch, a new Apple TV, new Macs and the forthcoming HomePod “smart” speaker. And all these products have been launched under the able leadership of Tim Cook.
During his tenure, Apple’s market capitalization more than doubled and is now moving close to a trillion dollars this year. This will invariably cement Apple’s place as the most valuable public company across the globe.
Apples’ profit and revenues have been climbing steadily, while it has amassed a mind-boggling hoard of cash in the last six years. This is more or less because of the iPhone. Cook has converted Apple’s flagship product into most successful tech product in the history, even though co-founder Steve Jobs is recognized as a product visionary.
Jobs did bring Apple back from bankruptcy, but Cook has maintained the Cupertino-based company’s massive growth trajectory. Cook has already invested in the future, with more research and development in growth areas like chips, and augmented reality and autonomous systems. Cook’s vision and strategic acumen will, no doubt, help Apple move north in the long run.
The stock’s projected earnings and revenue growth for the current year is a promising 24% and 13.5%, respectively. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings rose 1.1% in the last 60 days. Further, the company has an average four-quarter positive earnings surprise of 5.1%.
Apple Inc. Price and EPS Surprise
Apple Inc. price-eps-surprise | Apple Inc. Quote
More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone!
It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 27 billion devices in just 3 years, creating a $1.7 trillion market.
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