Nasdaq 100 Alert: 7 Undervalued Tech Stocks Ready to Rocket in 2024

Stocks to buy

The Nasdaq 100 had a banner year. After a disastrous 2022 that saw the tech-laden index lose one-third of its value, it rebounded sharply in 2023 soaring 55% to hit a new all-time high. Of course, most of those gains were because of the performance of the Magnificent 7 stocks.

Since the index is market cap-weighted the relative size of the companies skewed the results. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) alone accounts for 9% of the Nasdaq 100 while Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) represents another 8.6%. Together, the seven companies total over 38% of the index. Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) called their performance the “defining feature of the equity market in 2023.”

That means last year’s Nasdaq 100 performance wasn’t very broad-based. It will be difficult for that select group of stocks to repeat their gains this year. Instead, quite a few undervalued tech stocks in the index will soar in 2024. Here are the top seven to consider.

Cisco (CSCO)

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Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) used to be known as the “backbone of the internet” because of the role its routers and networking equipment played in keeping business online. Today the commoditization of hardware is a challenge. So are the rise of cloud computing and changing IT buying patterns. To address these issues, Cisco is evolving its software, cloud, and security strategy. It aims to transition the majority of its portfolio to everything-as-a-service over time. It calls the move Cisco+.

The software-focused approach could create large gains for the company in the long run, as it makes its revenue less cyclical, more recurring, and more profitable. It just delivered its strongest fiscal first quarter in company history. Revenue jumped 8% to $14.7 billion while profits raced 36% higher to $3.6 billion.

Cisco still needs to demonstrate its value proposition to its customers. By executing on its software, cloud, and security strategy, it can achieve its growth targets and retain its market leadership. With the stock trading at 12 times earnings estimates and 11x free cash flow (FCF), it’s presenting excellent value with tremendous upside potential.

Gilead Sciences (GILD)

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Biopharmaceutical Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) develops and commercializes antiviral therapies for treating HIV, hepatitis, and cancer. Biktarvy for HIV is its lead drug, generating $3.1 billion in sales globally in the third quarter and $8.7 billion year-to-date. That’s up 17% from last year. A second treatment, Descovey, has $1.3 billion in sales over the first three quarters of 2023.

These drugs are offsetting the decline of older therapies like Veklury, which was the first FDA-approved antiviral for Covid-19. Although Gilead generated significant revenue from it in 2020 and 2021, sales are rapidly fading.

There is a dual-edged sword to the potential of its cell therapies Yescarta and Tecartus. On the one hand sales of the treatments are up 35% this year, but on the other the FDA is investigating potential issues with such chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T-cell) therapies. Cancer patients treated with CAR T-cell drugs reportedly developed lymphomas or other malignancies. Gilead operates a new automated CAR T-cell facility that just got FDA approval in April 2022. Fortunately, the therapies aren’t critical to Gilead’s current performance so far, but they are a future growth channel that could be at risk.

The biotech does have a healthy pipeline of treatments in clinical trials. So long as it can successfully launch and grow its new products, especially in the oncology and inflammatory segments, and leverage its existing portfolio and pipeline to diversify and strengthen its revenue streams, it got potential to rocket higher this year.

Axcelis Technologies (ACLS)

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Axcelis Technologies (NASDAQ:ACLS) doesn’t make chips itself but makes ion implantation systems that are critical to the chip-making process. It’s part of a duopoly with Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT) offering a full range of implant products. Their international competitors don’t have the same breadth of products and services.

The booming semiconductor industry means there is more than enough business to go around. Axcelis sales jumped 25% so far this year with profits racing 39% higher. While the stock soared 63% in 2023 there’s good reason to believe it can continue climbing.

Due to the heightened demand for electric vehicles (EV), renewable energy, and 5G applications, Axcelis can rapidly expand its share in the silicon carbide power market. It’s the only company with a product line that can deliver complete recipe coverage for all power device applications.

It also has a diversified customer base, including those for so-called trailing-edge processes. These are older and less advanced technologies still widely used for automotive, industrial, and Internet of Things applications but still have robust demand. Axcelis’ Purion line can support a wide range of implant applications, from 300mm to 200mm and smaller wafers.

Despite its stock gains Axcelis still trades at 15 times earnings estimates and a fraction of its long-term earnings growth rate. There’s no reason it can’t rocket even higher next year.

Fortinet (FTNT)

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Cybersecurity specialist Fortinet (NASDAQ:FTNT) is benefiting from the inexorable transition of data to the cloud. It provides cybersecurity solutions for enterprises, service providers, and government organizations. The number of security breaches hit record levels before the year even ended. Although the cybersecurity arena is becoming more competitive, Fortinet has several levers it can pull to dramatically increase growth

The artificial intelligence (AI)-based cybersecurity market is expected to grow rapidly because of the increasing sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks. Fortinet invested heavily in AI and machine learning capabilities to enhance its threat detection, prevention, and response solutions. There had been a concern enterprise customers would cut back on cybersecurity spending if a recession loomed, but the damage to operations and reputation might prevent that from happening on too broad of a scale.

Fortinet can also leverage its Security Fabric platform, which integrates and automates security from network to cloud to endpoint. It says the platform enables customers to achieve higher levels of security, performance, and efficiency, while reducing complexity and costs. It’s also establishing itself as the industry leader in firewalls and software-defined wide area networks, or SD-WANs. It’s an emerging computer networking technology that connects data centers to branches and the cloud.

Fortinet’s stock isn’t cheap, but it still has the chance to expand its multiples even more in the year ahead.

Intel (INTC)

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Chip maker Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) had an impressive run in 2023 but should still be considered an undervalued tech stock. It is working to regain its technical edge over Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (NYSE:TSM). New products including Emerald Rapids Xeon processors and Meteor Lake mobile processors aim to restore Intel’s superiority or at least gain technical parity. Similarly its new Gaudi3 AI chip puts Intel in the game with Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) and AMD.

Intel is also leveraging its chip manufacturing capabilities in the foundry business to provide chip fabrication services to other companies. It counts Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and the U.S. Defense Dept. as clients. The fact that it is primarily based in the U.S. gives it a competitive edge in the wake of global geopolitical uncertainty that’s disrupted supply chains worldwide. It also has a new fab facility in Europe to expand its capacity and meet growing chip demand there.

Intel’s data center business faced challenges in recent years due to increased competition, innovation, and market shifts. However, that is expected to recover. Similarly, the expected debut in 2024 of AI PCs could revive the industry. These are just some of the growth levers available to Intel to pull in 2024. 

Expedia (EXPE)

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Online travel stock Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) took a long trip higher in 2023. Shares rose 80% with most of the gains beginning in November on travel demand returning to pre-pandemic levels. Expedia beat analyst profit estimates and recorded record revenue in the third quarter.

According to the International Air Transport Association, overall traveler numbers will exceed pre-Covid levels. They are expected to reach 4 billion in 2024. Passenger volume is projected to hit 9.4 billion passengers worldwide this year, surpassing 2019’s 9.2 billion.

Expedia remains one of the leading online travel companies with well-known brands including its namesake Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Vrbo, and Egencia. Despite last year’s gains the online travel agency trades at a lower valuation than its peers and its own historical averages. The stock goes for just 12 earnings estimates and 11 times free cash flow. Profit margins and cash flow generation, however, are stronger than some rivals like Trip.com (NASDAQ:TCOM) and Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB). Moreover, Expedia can use platforms like Vrbo to further encroach on territory already held by Airbnb.

Look for Expedia to continue rebounding in 2024 as the travel industry recovers from the pandemic and adapts to the new normal.

Netflix (NFLX)

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To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumor of Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) death has been greatly exaggerated. In fact, Netflix actually won the streaming wars. While competing services like Disney‘s (NYSE:DIS) Disney+ and Paramount Global‘s (NASDAQ:PARA) Paramount+ burst on the scene during the pandemic with great fanfare, they haven’t been able to maintain their momentum.

Analysts believed movie studios getting into streaming would undercut Netflix ability to survive. Pulling content from the platform for their own streaming services would starve Netflix of content. As it turns out, there really hasn’t been enough of a reason to continue subscribing to these rivals while Netflix is still expanding. It ended the third quarter with 247 million subscribers worldwide.

Although it was believed Netflix cracking down on password sharing could damage its business, that’s not the case either. It has an opportunity to grow even more by converting an estimated 100 million users into paying customers. Advertising is another huge opportunity, though CFO Spencer Neumann told Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) says Netflix is still “the crawl of the crawl-walk-run stage” of both growth levers.

Netflix has also shown it possesses superb pricing power. It avoided increasing customer churn by responsibly increasing subscription costs. This is a trio of opportunities the streamer can continue to press to its advantage this year. It’s stock is not the cheapest either, but having survived the streaming wars and come out on top again indicates Netflix is an undervalued tech stock that can keep growing in the year ahead.

On the date of publication, Rich Duprey did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

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