Tech Trends to Be Thankful for Today -- Part 2


Other than the odd day here and there, the Nasdaq hasn't performed well this fall, certainly not the way tech investors would like. Though up about 12% year to date, for October, and so far in November, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is in the red -- 4.46% and 2%, respectively.

In part two of tech trends to be thankful for, let's take a look at a couple more opportunities. The other two investment options I discussed -- NVIDIA and Cisco -- are both sound growth and income alternatives heading into 2013 and beyond. But NVIDIA and Cisco are hardly the only alternatives in the downtrodden tech sector.

A tech bargain for this, or any, holiday season
Since Intel's Q3 earnings were announced Oct. 16, shareholders have struggled through a steady 8.4% drop in share price. What makes Intel's decline even more painful is that it didn't exactly start from a high point. The fact Q3 profit was up 5% sequentially, non-GAAP earnings were 20% higher than analyst expectations, and margins remained at a solid 64% in spite of a $500 million increase in research and development expenses, did little to placate investors.

The problem? The usual: PCs are dying and Intel's domination in that market means it will die, too, along with the desktop. But thankfully, as discussed in a recent article, Intel is hardly resting on its laurels. It's already shipped six smartphones boasting the "Intel Inside" logo in the European market, including the Google-owned Motorola Mobility Razr i.

As for the U.S. market, Intel's director of product marketing, Sumeet Syal, said Intel will begin "shipping some LTE products later this year and ramping into 2013." With the market's shift to 4G, this is a much-needed move on Intel's part, and it can't come too soon. Intel bears will cite Qualcomm's existing 48% share of the smartphone processor market in Q2 of this year as too big a hurdle -- but counting out $97 billion Intel? Not a good idea.

As you know by now, the latest drop in Intel share price came after the unexpected retirement announcement from CEO Paul Otellini on Nov. 19. Otellini was a solid leader, and uncertainty surrounding his replacement makes perfect sense. It also warrants a big "Thank you!" from growth and income investors. At current levels, Intel is trading at less than half Qualcomm's trailing earnings multiple of 20. Margins, return on assets, return on equity, return on investment? Intel either stacks up or beats Qualcomm in all these key areas. And Intel's 4.6% dividend yield is nearly three times Qualcomm's.

Betting on Windows OS
If Nokia CEO Stephen Elop was a Texas hold 'em aficionado, it'd be safe to say he almost went all in with the Lumia smartphone. It was nearly two years ago Nokia and Microsoft announced their partnership. About a year ago, Elop excitedly introduced Nokia's new Lumia smartphone running Windows 7 OS. All in? Not quite, but hold that thought.

Nokia's smartphone competition is fierce, led by the new iPhone 5 from industry darling Apple. Google, running its leading Android OS, has also entered the smartphone manufacturing business (with its LG partnership) offering consumers the Nexus 4. With big smartphone bullies like Apple, Google, and maybe even its own partner Microsoft in the not-too-distant future, Nokia will be left out in the cold, right?

Thankfully, Nokia has this profitable business unit called Siemens Networks, which generated record revenues, and over 300 million euros in operating profit last quarter. Then there's the U.S. equivalent of $11.7 billion on the balance sheet, and Nokia's cash-generating patents are worth an estimated $6 billion. In other words, Nokia's not quite all in with Lumia; there's time for its smartphone to gain traction, and for Microsoft's Windows 8 OS to gain followers.

Intel and Nokia are on different paths, but each offers investors something to be thankful for. Intel is an industry-leading technology innovator, ideal for a portfolio in need of mid- to long-term growth and income. Nokia? A more aggressive investment to be sure, but it remains financially sound, in spite of what you may hear. Yes, its massive cash pile is slowly declining, but Nokia's 8.1% dividend isn't in jeopardy tomorrow, next week, or next month.

Enjoy the holidays, and be thankful.

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Fool contributor Tim Brugger has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Qualcomm. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple, Google, Intel, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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