Top Tech Stocks for Buying Amid S&P 500's Surge

Recently released data from the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index revealed that inflation increased in March. The core PCE price index, which excludes energy and food prices, went up by 0.3% last month, reaching an annual rate of 2.8% (unchanged from February). That was above the 2.7% estimate from the Dow Jones consensus.

George Mateyo, chief investment officer at Key Wealth, cautioned against assuming that inflation concerns have completely dissipated and that the Federal Reserve will imminently cut interest rates. He said, “The prospects of rate cuts remain, but they are not assured, and the Fed will likely need weakness in the labor market before they have the confidence to cut.”

Meanwhile, consumers continued to spend despite the elevated price levels. Personal spending increased by 0.8% for the month, slightly surpassing the 0.7% estimate. Personal income increased by 0.5%, aligning with expectations and exceeding the 0.3% rise in February.

The S&P 500 index capped off its best week since November as it rose around 2.7% to snap its streak of three straight weekly losses, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 4.2%, marking its first positive week in five. The broad market index is currently up more than 7% year-to-date. Stocks have surged lately as Big Tech names rallied on solid earnings and traders closely analyzing the latest inflation data.

Mona Mahajan, senior investment strategist at Edward Jones, noted, “We are finishing a volatile week on a strong note. It’s nice to see some green on the screen. Clearly one of the drivers has been the stellar reports coming out of megacap technology.”

Tech giants, including Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA), and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), reported impressive earnings lately, and the message conveyed to Wall Street is simple and straightforward: enterprise spending on A will likely remain steady in the foreseeable future.

GOOGL soared over 10% on better-than-expected first-quarter earnings, marking its best day since July 2015. Additionally, the company announced its first-ever dividend payable to its shareholders on June 17, 2024, and a $70 billion buyback. Meanwhile, Microsoft gained nearly 2% after reporting robust fiscal third-quarter results, with a notable growth in its cloud business.

Let’s delve deeper into the fundamentals and growth prospects of MSFT, NVDA, and GOOGL:

Microsoft Corporation (MSFT)

One of the most popular and sought-after software companies, Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), barely requires any introduction. It has a market capitalization of whooping $2.99 trillion.

With a strong foothold in the cloud, the tech giant continues to pursue innovations in the artificial technology (AI) front, with AI-powered Bing and Microsoft 365 Copilot. Moreover, the partnership with ChatGPT creator OpenAI has given MSFT another edge over its competitors.

On April 23, the company introduced Phi-3-mini, a lightweight AI model aimed at broadening its client base with cost-effective options. Phi-3-mini is immediately available on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, Hugging Face’s machine learning model platform, and Ollama for local machine deployment.

On the same day, MSFT announced a five-year strategic partnership with The Coca-Cola Company (KO) to accelerate AI transformation enterprise-wide and across its global network of independent bottlers. In addition, on April 22, Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTSH) announced a partnership with MSFT to expand the adoption of generative AI in the enterprise and realize strategic business transformation.

In the same month, the company also expanded its work with G42 to accelerate responsible AI innovation in the United Arab Emirates and beyond while accelerating digital transformation securely across the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa with expanded access to services and technologies.

Given the AI boom, such strategic partnerships make it a contender in the high-growth segments of the tech market that matter.

Driven by its Intelligent Cloud revenue with a 21% increase, the company posted impressive earnings for the third quarter that ended March 31, 2024. MSFT’s total revenue increased 17% year-over-year to $61.86 billion. Thanks to the booming demand for its cloud solutions, the company’s Cloud revenue surged 23% year-over-year to $35.10 billion.

"Microsoft Copilot and Copilot stack spanning everyday productivity, business process and developer services to models, data and infrastructure are orchestrating a new era of AI transformation, driving better business outcomes across every role and industry," chief executive officer Satya Nadella said in a statement, referring to Microsoft’s AI services.

Further, Microsoft’s operating income rose 23.4% from the year-ago value to $27.58 billion. Its net income and earnings per share came in at $21.94 billion and $2.94, up 19.9% and 20% year-over-year, respectively. In addition, the company’s cash inflow from operating activities grew 30.6% from the prior year’s period to $31.92 billion.

Looking ahead, Street expects MSFT’s revenue and EPS to rise 14.6% and 8.5% year-over-year to $64.42 billion and $2.92 in the fourth quarter ending June 2024, respectively. It’s no surprise that the company has topped the consensus revenue and EPS estimates in each of the four trailing quarters.

Moreover, Microsoft boasts an impressive trailing-12-month ROCE and net income margin of 38.49% and 36.43%, significantly higher than the industry averages of 3.36%and 2.64%, respectively. Also, the stock’s trailing-12-month gross profit margin of 69.89% is 43.6% higher than the 48.66% industry average.

Shares of MSFT continue to shine this year, following robust third-quarter 2024 earnings. The stock has gained nearly 7% year-to-date and more than 36% over the past year.

NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA)

Having originated in designing GPUs for consumer gaming, NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) has shifted its focus to making hardware for data centers, and it is at the forefront of enabling AI capabilities for a broad range of applications. Its market capitalization stands at $2.19 trillion.

While gaming remains a core market for NVDA, its reach extends far beyond. Given the rapidly evolving technological landscape, the company has leveraged its expertise in chip design and computing power to stay at the forefront of emerging trends and capitalize on new market opportunities.

Recently, the company announced that SEA.AI Linz, an Austria-based start-up and its Metropolis partner, would use AI and machine vision technology powered by NVIDIA's Jetson edge AI platform to enhance safety in sea travel by quickly detecting and alerting operators to potential hazards.

On April 25, the company posted that a line-up of NVIDIA automotive partners unveiled their latest offerings (at Auto China), powered by NVIDIA DRIVE, the leading platform for AI-driven vehicles. It also stated that several automakers are developing next-generation vehicles using NVIDIA DRIVE Orin.

Also, on April 24, NVDA announced its acquisition of Run:ai, a provider of GPU orchestration software, in a move to enhance the efficiency of AI computing resources. Run:ai, an Israeli start-up, specializes in Kubernetes-based workload management, enabling efficient cluster resource utilization for AI workloads across shared accelerated computing infrastructure.

Through this platform, enterprise customers can effectively manage and optimize their compute infrastructure, spanning on-premises, cloud, and hybrid environments.

NVDA's fourth quarter saw over 3x year-over-year increase to $22.10 billion, resulting in a 22% gain versus the previous quarter. Its Data Center group chalked up $18.40 billion in revenue for the quarter, resulting in a 27% sequential gain and a massive 409% lift over the same period last year. NVIDIA’s Data Center business (primarily connected to its AI operations) is among its highest-margin businesses.

NVIDIA’s founder and CEO, Jensen Huang, believes that accelerated computing and generative AI have hit a “tipping point,” with broad-based demand observed in the market. He added that the demand for data processing, training, and inference from large cloud-service providers and GPU-specialized ones, as well as from enterprise software and consumer internet companies, have been the driving force for the Data Center unit.

Moreover, the company’s non-GAAP operating income and non-GAAP net income grew significantly from the prior year period (and each 28% up quarter-over-quarter) to $14.75 billion and $12.84 billion, respectively. Its non-GAAP EPS came in at $5.16, compared to $0.88 in the prior year’s quarter.

Per its financial guidance, NVIDIA expects net revenue to be $24 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2025, representing a projected 9% sequential gain. Its non-GAAP gross margin is expected to be at 77%.

Analysts expect NVDA’s revenue and EPS for the first quarter (ending April 2024) to increase substantially by 238.4% and 407.9% year-over-year to $24.34 billion and $5.54, respectively. Additionally, the company surpassed consensus revenue estimates in each of the trailing four quarters, which is impressive.

The stock’s trailing-12-month ROCE, ROTC, and ROTA of 91.46%, 46.75%, and 45.28% are significantly higher than the industry averages of 3.36%, 2.32%, and 1.29%, respectively. Also, its trailing-12-month net income margin of 48.85% compares to the industry average of 2.64%.

Moreover, the shares of the GPU giant have returned more than 117% over the past six months and nearly 77% year-to-date.

Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)

With a market cap of $2.15 trillion, Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) is known for its pioneering internet-related services and products. Amidst the rise of generative artificial intelligence, Google's parent company is making notable advancements, as indicated by its escalating capital expenditures and aggressive moves in artificial intelligence.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai attributed the company’s significant success to its investments in AI, including the large language model and suite of AI products, including Gemini.

“We are well under way with our Gemini era and there’s great momentum across the company. Our leadership in AI research and infrastructure, and our global product footprint, position us well for the next wave of AI innovation,” Pichai said.

On April 23, GOOGL announced a €600 million ($642.98 million) investment plan for a new data center in Groningen, Netherlands, to create 125 job opportunities. This investment contributes to the company’s cumulative investment in Dutch data infrastructure, which has exceeded €3.80 billion ($4.07 billion) since 2014.

In the fiscal 2024 first quarter ended March 31, 2024, GOOGL reported revenues of $80.54 billion, up 15.4% year-over-year. Its income from operations grew 46.3% from the prior year’s quarter to $25.47 billion. Net income and earnings per share came in at $23.33 billion and $1.89, representing increases of 57.2% and 61.5% year-over-year, respectively.

In addition, the tech company’s cash and cash equivalents amounted to $24.49 billion as of March 31, 2024, compared to $24.05 billion as of December 31, 2023.

Street expects GOOGL’s revenue and EPS for the fiscal second quarter (ending June 2024) to increase 12.5% and 27.5% year-over-year to $83.90 billion and $1.84, respectively. Also, the company has topped the consensus EPS and revenue estimates in all four trailing quarters.

Besides, GOOGL’s trailing-12-month gross profit margin of 57.47% is 16.9% higher than the 49.13% industry average. Likewise, the stock’s trailing-12-month net income margin, ROCE, and ROTC of 25.90%, 29.76%, and 19.82% compare to the industry averages of 2.53%, 2.86%, and 3.28%, respectively.

GOOGL’s stock has climbed over 35% over the past six months and is up nearly 18% year-to-date.

Bottom Line

Judging from the recent strategic initiatives, it’s clear that the tech giants have been investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI). These investments reflect their recognition of the importance of AI in driving innovation, improving products and services, and staying competitive in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

With Microsoft’s Copilot and Google’s Gemini, big companies such as Meta Platforms, Inc. (META) and c are joining the race to make sure they keep up with AI and don’t miss out on the vast market that could be worth more than $1 trillion in the next ten years.

Moreover, the tech landscape remains a bright spot, with more and more people engaging in online activities, ranging from remote working and online learning to entertainment and shopping. Plus, the rapid adoption of cloud computing, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality, machine learning, digital communication, blockchain, and 5G technology will continue to push the industry forward.

Lately, Big Tech stocks have played a crucial role in driving the S&P 500 to notch its best week since November, contributing to market optimism despite lingering inflation concerns. Amid the S&P’s surge, top-performing tech stocks MSFT, NVDA, and GOOGL could be wise additions to your portfolios for potential gains.

Google’s AI Debacle: A Red Flag for Investors Eyeing Sell Signals?

Since the debut of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, numerous tech companies have been swiftly advancing to develop comparable, if not superior, versions of such conversational AI models. Among them, tech titan Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) has emerged as a prominent player.

Utilizing its extensive resources and employing top-tier talent to explore the frontiers of AI capabilities, GOOGL unveiled its largest and most capable AI model, Gemini (formerly known as Bard), in December last year.

This expansive language model consists of three variants: Gemini Ultra, representing its largest and most proficient category; Gemini Pro, designed to address a wide range of tasks across various scales; and Gemini Nano, tailored for specific functionalities and compatibility with mobile devices.

GOOGL’s CEO Sundar Pichai said this new era of models signifies one of the company's most significant science and engineering endeavors. He expressed genuine excitement about the future and the opportunities Gemini will bring to individuals worldwide.

However, despite the CEO’s enthusiasm, Gemini failed to garner the same level of traction as ChatGPT. According to web analytics company Similarweb, Gemini currently ranks as the third most popular AI chatbot, trailing significantly behind ChatGPT in terms of traffic.

To make matters worse, Gemini has encountered multiple controversies over the last month, resulting in a notable downturn for GOOGL. According to the Gemini chatbot, one should never misgender a person, even if it could prevent a nuclear apocalypse.

This stance was revealed in response to a hypothetical question posed by a popular social media account, which asked if misgendering Caitlyn Jenner, a prominent transgender woman, could prevent such a catastrophe. Gemini’s “woke” response to the post received major criticism from social media users.

Additionally, the controversy surrounding Google’s Gemini intensified as its image-generating platform was slammed for producing racially inaccurate depictions of historical figures, occasionally substituting images of White individuals with those of Black, Native American, and Asian descent.

Tesla, Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk expressed concern over these “woke” responses, particularly emphasizing the widespread integration of Gemini across GOOGL’s products and YouTube.

Musk tweeted about a conversation with a senior GOOGL executive, who informed him it would take a few months to address the issue, contrary to earlier expectations of a quicker resolution.

While GOOGL has issued several apologies and halted the use of Gemini’s image-generating platform, a former GOOGL executive disclosed that investors are expressing profound frustration as the scandal involving the Gemini model evolves into a tangible threat to the tech company.

On the other hand, CEO Sundar Pichai reassured stakeholders, affirming that the company is actively working “around the clock” to address the issues with the AI model. Pichai condemned the generated images as “biased” and “completely unacceptable.”

Furthermore, GOOGL recently introduced an update to Gemini that allows users to modify inaccurate responses and provides them with increased control over the platform. Reportedly, GOOGL experienced a loss of approximately $90 billion in market value last month, fueled by the controversy surrounding Gemini.

Also, GOOGL made history as the first company to face a hefty fine for its AI training methods. French regulators imposed a penalty of approximately $270 million on the tech giant. The regulatory authority stated that the company breached a pledge by using content from news outlets in France to train its generative AI model, Gemini.

Bottom Line

As GOOGL grapples with the fallout from Gemini-related controversies, its reputation among investors has taken a significant blow. The company’s AI chatbot faced enhanced backlash from individuals and prominent public figures such as Elon Musk.

Sergey Brin, the co-founder of GOOGL, acknowledged Gemini's historical inaccuracies and questionable responses. He stated that Google “definitely messed up on the image generation” and attributed the issue to insufficient testing.

However, he highlighted that GOOGL is not alone in grappling with challenges. Various AI tools, including ChatGPT and Elon Musk’s Grok services, struggle to generate accurate results. He noted that these tools sometimes produce peculiar responses that may seem politically skewed.

Despite these challenges, Brin maintains confidence in GOOGL’s position, emphasizing his belief in the tech company’s capabilities to adapt and innovate its business models.

Furthermore, GOOGL continues to lead the way in the field of AI. Talks between GOOGL and Apple Inc. (AAPL) about integrating Gemini’s generative AI technology with iPhones have sparked a significant surge in the stock prices of both companies.

A partnership with AAPL would give GOOGL and Gemini a reassuring vote of confidence, particularly given the recent controversies surrounding its “woke” chatbot and the generation of inaccurate images.

Wedbush analyst Scott Devitt sees the potential deal as a validation moment for GOOGL’s generative AI positioning. The firm rates GOOGL “outperform” and has a 12-month price target of $160. Devitt emphasized that this collaboration represents a significant opportunity for GOOGL to integrate into the AAPL ecosystem.

In conclusion, while GOOGL faces challenges and scrutiny due to controversies surrounding Gemini, the company continues demonstrating determination to adapt and thrive.

Furthermore, talks with AAPL regarding the potential integration of Gemini's technology signal promising opportunities for GOOGL and its generative AI model. Consequently, in light of this significant development, adopting an entirely bearish stance on GOOGL might not be prudent. Thus, investors could closely monitor the stock for potential gains.

Long-Term Play: How AVGO's Focus on Artificial Intelligence Drives Growth

Broadcom Inc. (AVGO), a global tech leader that develops and supplies semiconductor and infrastructure software solutions, exceeded analysts’ expectations for both revenue and earnings in the first quarter of fiscal year 2024. Its revenue and EPS came in at $11.96 billion and $10.99, surpassing the analysts’ estimates of $11.72 billion and $10.42, respectively.

For the quarter that ended February 4, 2024, the company’s net revenue witnessed a 34.2% increase year-over-year. The revenue increase was primarily driven by AVGO’s acquisition of VMware in November 2023, which accelerated growth in its infrastructure software segment. Also, the company saw a high demand for its networking products, particularly in AI data centers and custom AI accelerators from hyperscalers.

AVGO’s first-quarter non-GAAP net income and non-GAAP earnings per common share rose 17.2% and 6.4% from the prior year’s period to $5.25 billion and $10.99, respectively. Furthermore, the company’s adjusted EBITDA grew 26% from the year-ago value to $7.16 billion.

Broadcom’s fiscal 2024 software revenue guidance is set at an impressive $20 billion. Additionally, fueled by the sustained robust demand for AI NAND, the company anticipates networking revenue to exceed 35% year-on-year growth, surpassing its early projection of 30% annual growth.

Moreover, it projects moderate to strong single-digit percentage year-over-year growth in its Semiconductor Solutions division for fiscal 2024. AVGO has reiterated its consolidated revenue target of $50 billion, representing a 40% increase year-over-year. It has also reiterated its adjusted EBITDA forecast of $30 billion for the year, a 60% growth rate.

In addition, Streets expects Broadcom’s revenue and earnings per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2024, ending April 2024, to rise by 37.3% and 4.9% to $11.99 billion and $10.82, respectively.

Several Cutting-Edge Innovations and Breakthroughs

On March 14, 2024, AVGO launched Bailly, the industry's first groundbreaking 51.2 Tbps CPO Ethernet switch. The innovation would allow hyperscalers to establish energy-efficient and cost-effective large-scale AI and computing clusters.

AVGO’s technology leadership and manufacturing innovations will ensure that Bailly delivers 70% better power efficiency and an optical I/O roadmap that aligns with the future bandwidth and power needs of AI infrastructure.

Furthermore, the tech company’s March 13 announcements showcased vital advancements extending its market leadership with an expanded portfolio of optical interconnect solutions for AI and ML applications. The cutting-edge optics support high-speed data transfers in large-scale generative AI compute clusters, connecting front-end and back-end networks.

Key achievements unveiled by Broadcom include the production release of 200-Gbps per lane electro-absorption modulated laser (EML) to pair with next-gen GPUs, the demonstration of the industry’s first 200G/lane vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), and the shipment of over 20 million channels of 100G/lane high-speed optical components used in AI/ML systems.

Moreover, AVGO showcased the continuous wave (CW) laser with high efficiency and high linearity for silicon photonics (SiPh) modulation at 200G. These breakthroughs will revolutionize high-speed interconnects within AI clusters, facilitating front-end and back-end generative AI compute networks.

“Generative AI has unleashed a network transformation necessitating an order of magnitude increase in high-speed optical links compared to standard network requirements,” said Near Margalit, vice president and general manager of the Optical Systems Division at AVGO. “We will continue to invest in VCSEL, EML and CW laser technologies to deliver disruptive innovation in bandwidth, power and latency for optical interconnects in next generation AI links.”

According to Dr. Vladimir Kozlov, founder and CEO of LightCounting Market Research, Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) and NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) will lead the way as the initial adopters of 200G per lane optics for linking GPUs and TPUs in AI clusters, which is currently a highly sought-after segment in the market.

Kozlov added that Broadcom, known for pioneering innovative components, is once again at the forefront by supplying the necessary technology for the next generation of optical transceivers, supporting the rapid evolution of AI infrastructure.

“NVIDIA is at the forefront of photonics innovation, and Broadcom has been an important optical-component partner, matching the pace and scale required as we advance our HPC and AI optical-interconnect technology,” said Craig Thompson, vice president of LinkX products at NVDA. 

At Innolight, we have been deploying leading-edge optical interconnect solutions for AI, ML and HPC applications,” stated Osa Mok, CMO at Innolight Technology. “We are excited to continue our partnership with Broadcom to develop advanced terabit optical modules for generative AI, enabling AI clusters to scale and support the next generation of LLMs.”

Also, Sean Davies, vice president of sales at Eoptolink Technology, said, “We are excited to partner with Broadcom to bring to market state-of-the-art solutions to enable terabit connectivity and drive new generative AI architectures.”

Dividend Growth Trajectory

AVGO recently declared a quarterly dividend of $5.25 per share, payable on March 29, 2024, to shareholders on record as of March 21, 2024. This increase brings the annual dividend to $21 per share. The company has increased its dividends for 13 consecutive years.

Moreover, over the past five years, the company’s dividend payouts have grown at a CAGR of 19.3%. AVGO’s annual dividend translates to a yield of 1.70% at the prevailing stock price.

The company's strong financial performance and success in the AI chips market, along with synergies from a recent merger, suggest ongoing earnings growth, which supports the potential for future dividend increases.

Valuation Concerns

While all seems well, AVGO's substantial surge over the past year has led to a lofty valuation. Its forward P/E ratio stands at 61.45x, 118.2% higher than the industry average of 28.16x. Likewise, the stock’s forward EV/Sales and forward Price/Sales of 12.68x and 11.41x are 337.4% and 295.7% higher than the industry averages of 2.90x and 2.88x, respectively.

Thus, buying shares of AVGO at the moment might not be the best investment decision. However, one could closely monitor this stock as its strong AI business could drive significant growth in the future.

Favorable Analyst Estimates

Citigroup (C) analyst Christopher Danely strongly recommends buying AVGO stock, with a price target of $1,100. The upgrade is based on the company's solid core business performance and the positive impact expected from its VMware acquisition after the release of its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2023 earnings.

AVGO’s impressive financial results, particularly the contributions from AI, played a key role in this decision. Notably, the management has significantly increased its AI spending target from $4 billion in 2023 to more than $8 billion in 2024.

Currently, 86.7% of top-rated analysts rate AVGO as a Strong Buy or Buy, while 13.3% consider it a Hold. None suggest selling the stock. Analysts forecast AVGO’s upcoming year to yield earnings per share of $39.68, marking an 18.5% year-over-year increase if predictions hold true.

Bottom Line

AVGO’s impact on global connectivity is profound. The semiconductor giant supplies chips for virtually all internet-connected devices and is evolving into a software solutions provider for businesses. Broadcom has been primarily benefiting from the robust adoption of AI. The stock has gained more than 45% over the past six months and around 97% over the past year.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2024, the company’s AI revenues under its semiconductor segment quadrupled year-over-year to $2.30 billion. Further, AVGO projects fiscal 2024 AI revenues of nearly $10 billion, higher than the prior guidance of $7.50 billion and account for about 35% of semiconductor revenues, up from previous guidance of 25%.

AVGO recently announced key accomplishments, extending its market leadership with an expanded portfolio of optical interconnect solutions for AI and ML applications. These developments signify significant progress in incorporating state-of-the-art optical technologies into the constantly shifting realm of AI infrastructure.

The collaboration between Broadcom and key industry leaders like NVIDIA, Innolight Technology, and Eoptolink Technology further highlights the cooperative approach toward advancing AI/ML optical transceiver technologies. This joint endeavor seeks to meet the increasing need for larger AI clusters while fostering innovation in generative AI architectures.

Despite its high valuation, the company boasts strong business fundamentals and prospects amid emerging AI capabilities, making it a reliable long-term investment option.

AMZN Enters the Dow: What It Means for Investors and the Market

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), often referred to as the Dow, is one of the most enduring and esteemed price-weighted indices, overseeing 30 prominent publicly traded companies listed on both the NYSE and the NASDAQ.

Throughout its history, the Dow has functioned as a reliable gauge of the overall health of the U.S. stock market and economy. The companies featured in the Dow are often regarded as stalwarts in their respective industries.

However, over the past years, the absence of a few major tech giants within the index has led to its downfall. As the S&P 500 takes the lead, questions have been raised on Dow’s ability to correctly capture the essence of Artificial Intelligence’s (AI) impact on the U.S. economy.

In 2023, the Dow recorded a 13.7% increase, whereas the S&P 500 saw a 24.2% surge. Looking at year-to-date performance, the S&P 500 has risen by about 7%, compared to the Dow's increase of over 2%.

The performance gap between the indexes can be largely attributed to the S&P 500's heavier focus on big tech stocks, which have emerged as significant market winners. The anticipation surrounding the Federal Reserve's potential shift from rate hikes to cuts, coupled with the AI frenzy, propelled tech stocks to unprecedented heights last year.

Out of the few major big tech players, namely Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Meta Platforms, Inc. (META), Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), and NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA), only two tech titans MSFT and AAPL were included in the Dow up until last month.

However, considering the Dow’s lagging performance compared to the S&P 500 and its lack of exposure to big tech stocks, in a recent bold move to revitalize its performance and embrace the tech wave, Dow replaced pharmaceutical retailer Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA) with e-commerce giant, AMZN. Among the 30 blue chip companies listed in the Dow, AMZN holds the 17th position by weight.

But What Led to AMZN's Inclusion Into the Dow?

AMZN's inclusion in the Dow Jones index can be attributed to a three-for-one split implemented by Walmart, Inc. (WMT), also in the Dow. Companies within the Dow are weighted according to their stock price. Therefore, WMT's stock split, which effectively reduces its price and thereby its weight within the index, necessitated a rebalancing. Consequently, the Dow opted to incorporate AMZN into its listing.

S&P Dow Jones Indices indicates that this adjustment mirrors the evolving landscape of the American economy, which is expected to amplify consumer retail exposure alongside other business sectors within the Dow. Beyond AMZN's retail aspect, its addition to the Dow could elevate the index's performance, propelled by AMZN's increasing influence in the tech sector.

Commanding a market cap of over $1.80 trillion, AMZN has spread its wings across various industries over the past few years. While renowned for its remarkable retail operations, its substantial advancements in the entertainment landscape through Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Music, Prime Gaming, and Twitch underscore its versatility and impact.

Moreover, the company has also achieved notable progress in the tech space, particularly with its Amazon Web Services (AWS) segment, capitalizing on the surge in demand for Cloud and AI services. According to Statista, AWS generated $90.80 billion with its cloud services in 2023.

Additionally, buoyed by a record-breaking holiday shopping season, AMZN witnessed solid year-over-year growth in both its topline and bottom-line figures in the final quarter of 2023. Meanwhile, its AWS segment, which recorded a net sale of $24.20 billion, was more profitable than analysts had predicted and accounted for 14% of AMZN’s overall revenue in the same quarter.

With AMZN’s focus on fortifying its foothold in the realm of AI, the company, during the fourth quarter, launched the Q chatbot for developers and nontechnical corporate workers, alongside unveiling its partnership with chip kingpin NVDA to provide cutting-edge infrastructure, software, and services, aimed at supporting customers' advancements in generative AI.

On the earnings call, AMZN’s CEO Andy Jassy emphasized that generative AI remains a focal point for AMZN, with ongoing dedication and investment. He highlighted its potential to revolutionize numerous customer experiences and processes, foreseeing it as a significant driver of tens of billions of dollars in revenue for AMZN in the coming years.

Bottom Line

Despite the Dow lagging behind the S&P 500 index, inclusion in the Dow serves as a clear signal to investors, analysts, and the financial media, indicating a company's status as a stalwart of the American economy.

That being said, AMZN’s inclusion among the top 30 blue-chip companies comes as no surprise, considering the company’s strong financial prowess, relentless success, and diverse portfolio spanning retail, entertainment, and technology.

In addition, AMZN's robust financial performance in its last reported quarter, along with its recent partnerships with industry giants such as NVDA and product launches to fortify its position in the realm of AI, underscore its potential for further expansion and innovation.

Looking forward, Wall Street is buzzing with high expectations for the company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings, forecasting an impressive 11.9% year-over-year revenue climb to $142.48 billion, alongside a remarkable 171.6% year-over-year EPS surge to $0.84.

Furthermore, driven by AMZN’s competitive advantages, including its strong positions in logistics, e-commerce, and cloud computing, Wall Street projects the company to achieve revenue growth close to 10% by 2028. Street also anticipates slight increases in its EBITDA margin, reaching 21.2% by the end of 2028, and predicts AMNZ's market cap will reach $3 trillion over the next five years.

With such bullish sentiment echoed by analysts for the company’s future prospects coupled with its inclusion in the prestigious Dow index, institutional investors are flocking to AMZN shares, with 2,532 holders ramping up their stakes, reaching a total of 312,340,167 shares. Moreover, 428 institutions have taken new positions (32,292,371 shares).

This surge in institutional investment speaks volumes about the growing confidence in AMZN's future prospects. In light of all the encouraging aforementioned factors, AMZN emerges as a compelling investment opportunity.

Nvidia vs. Netflix- Which Is the #1 Growth Stock to Buy in March?

With the S&P 500 soaring roughly 8% year-to-date, stocks have experienced a solid start in 2024, with investors reaping the rewards of putting their money in high-growth stocks. This positive momentum is expected to persist throughout the rest of the year and beyond.

Amid this market rally, chip giant NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA) and entertainment powerhouse Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) have emerged as beacons of growth, capturing investor’s bullish sentiment.

Although operating in distinct industries with unique business models, these titans share striking parallels in their journey to success. Their unwavering commitment to excellence, combined with strategic flexibility, has catapulted them to the forefront of their respective industries.

Therefore, let’s explore the fundamentals of NVDA and NFLX to unveil the ultimate growth contender of the month.

Last Reported Quarterly Results

In the fiscal fourth quarter that ended January 28, 2024, NVDA witnessed a staggering 265.3% year-over-year surge in its topline, totaling $22.10 billion. The company’s non-GAAP net income surged to $12.84 billion and $5.16 per share, marking a remarkable increase of 490.6% and 486.4% from the prior-year quarter, respectively.

As of January 28, 2024, NVDA’s cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities stood at $25.98 billion.

Conversely, for the fourth quarter that ended December 31, 2023, NFLX’s revenue rose 12.5% year-over-year to $8.83 billion. The company also experienced significant growth in net income and EPS compared to the previous year’s quarter, amounting to $937.84 million and $2.11, respectively. As of December 31, 2023, NFLX held $7.12 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

Growth Trajectory

NVDA, the reigning chip powerhouse, is currently one of the market's most sizzling stocks. Since its inception in 1993, NVDA has spearheaded cutting-edge computer chip technology, pushing the boundaries of graphics-heavy video games to unparalleled heights.

However, with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), these chips have swiftly ascended to newfound prominence, reflecting NVDA's enduring innovation and strategic adaptability. The company stands as a global giant in the production of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) renowned for their ability to handle complex mathematical operations, powering captivating visuals across devices.

These advanced chips have become indispensable for training state-of-the-art AI programs such as ChatGPT and Gemini, underscoring NVDA’s pivotal role in driving the AI revolution forward. Leveraging AI to its advantage, NVDA’s earnings reports have managed to exceed expectations throughout 2023.

Furthermore, NVDA’s shares soared roughly 200% over the past year, buoyed by the company’s stellar earnings performance and solid demand for its AI chips. This surge attracted both institutional and retail investors, driving up share prices. With a market cap of around $2 trillion, NVDA has now claimed the title of the world's third most valuable company.

On the other hand, commanding a market cap of over $268 billion, NFLX stands as a pioneer in the streaming entertainment space, revolutionizing how audiences consume content worldwide. With a vast library of original programming and a global subscriber base, NFLX enjoys unrivaled dominance in the industry.

In a recent conference, NFLX’s CFO Spencer Neumann elaborated on NFLX’s trajectory under its revamped Co-CEO structure and its ambitious vision for future expansion. Neumann emphasized the smooth transition to the new leadership structure and NFLX’s dedication to broadening its entertainment repertoire, spanning films, TV series, gaming endeavors, and live content experiences.

Over the last few years, the tech company has adopted several strategic approaches to bolster its financial health. NFLX’s growth strategy hinges significantly on its substantial investment in content, with an annual expenditure projected at approximately $17 billion.

In addition, Netflix is venturing into new revenue avenues, including the introduction of an ad-supported subscription tier and measures aimed at bolstering monetization, such as combating password sharing.

Moreover, despite its risky move of cracking down on password sharing, NFLX’s latest earnings report revealed a surge of 13 million new subscribers in the final quarter of 2023, marking its most substantial growth since 2020. While initially met with resistance, the strategic move has been designed to counteract declining subscribership.

Greg Peters, NFLX’s Managing Director, emphasized during the earnings call that the company's top priority regarding ads is scalability. He highlighted a 70% quarter-on-quarter growth in the last quarter, following a similar growth trend in the previous quarter, indicating a positive growth trajectory for the company.

Competitive Landscape

In the dynamic worlds of technology and entertainment, both NVDA and NFLX are fiercely vying for supremacy in their domains.

The soaring popularity of generative AI owes a significant debt to NVDA and its groundbreaking GPUs. With skyrocketing demand and tight supply, NVDA's GPU H100 has emerged as a highly sought-after and premium-priced commodity, propelling NVDA to trillion-dollar status for the very first time.

With tech giants such as Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), Meta Platforms Inc. (META), OpenAI, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), and Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) heavily relying on NVDA’s GPU chips to power their generative AI planforms, these companies have started developing their own AI processors.

In addition, NVDA faces stiff competition from other chip makers like Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) and Intel Corporation (INTC), all striving to release the newest, most efficient, and potent AI chips to dominate the market.

Meanwhile, NFLX confronts fierce competition from fellow FAAMG (Meta (formerly Facebook), Apple Inc. (AAPL), Amazon, Microsoft, and Alphabet’s Google) heavyweights. The streaming arena is now brimming with contenders like Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube Premium, launched by Apple, Amazon, and Google, respectively.

This fierce rivalry compels NFLX to perpetually innovate and enrich its content library to retain its crown as the streaming kingpin. Furthermore, the mounting expenses of content licensing and the delicate balance between original productions and licensed content present enduring hurdles for NFLX to overcome.

Bottom Line

As evidenced by their latest quarterly results, both NVDA and NFLX continue to deliver impressive performances, standing as formidable players in their respective industries, with their growth trajectories reflecting their strategic prowess and market dominance.

NVDA's cutting-edge GPU chips have propelled it to the forefront of the AI revolution, with staggering earnings growth and market capitalization making it a top contender in the tech landscape.

Fueled by these promising prospects, NVDA’s shares soared to unprecedented heights last month, with its market cap skyrocketing by a Jaw-dropping $267 billion in a single day. This remarkable surge nearly matched the entire market cap of NFLX, reflecting immense investor confidence in NVDA’s prospects.

NFLX, on the other hand, dominates the streaming entertainment space with its vast content library and global subscriber base. Despite facing stiff competition from tech giants and emerging streaming platforms, NFLX remains focused on expansion and innovation, which is evident in its ambitious growth strategies and robust financial health in the last reported quarter.

While challenges and competition persist, NVDA and NFLX demonstrate resilience, adaptability, and a relentless drive for success, making them compelling options for investors seeking growth opportunities in the dynamic worlds of technology and entertainment.

However, NVDA’s shares are trading at a much higher valuation than NFLX. For instance, in terms of forward Price/Sales, NVDA is trading at 19.37x, 178.7% higher than NFLX’s 6.95x. Likewise, NVDA’s forward Price/Book ratio of 24.32 is 116.2% higher than NFLX’s 11.25x.

The higher valuation of NVDA compared to NFLX indicates investor confidence in NVDA's future growth potential, leading investors to be willing to pay a premium price for its shares. However, it also signals that NVDA's anticipated growth might already be factored into its stock price, potentially dimming its attractiveness compared to NFLX.

Furthermore, while NVDA’s ascent captivates the stock market and propels the S&P 500 Index to unprecedented highs, Barclays research analyst Sandeep Gupta anticipates that demand for AI chips will stabilize once the initial training phase concludes.

Gupta underscores that during the inference stage, the computational demand is lower compared to training, suggesting that high-powered PCs and smartphones could suffice for local inference tasks. Consequently, this scenario may reduce the urgency for NVDA’s expanding GPU facilities.

As a result, investors might be banking on future growth that could potentially fail to materialize. With that being said, NFLX may emerge as a more promising growth stock compared to NVDA.