After a disastrous year to forget, some of the best tech stocks to buy have kicked off a comeback year. Better, these beaten-down stocks make for great long-term, core portfolio positions — each a high-quality tech company, with deep economic moats. In fact, with strong track records of steady, consistent growth, over time they are poised to continue appreciating in value at a more-than-satisfactory clip. In some cases, these blue-chip tech names also provide investors with dividends. These provide a further boost to long-term total returns. So, for investors today, what are some of the best long-term tech stocks out there? Consider these seven, a mix of leading companies from across the tech stock sector.
|Automatic Data Processing
Compared to many of its FAANG peers, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) held up relatively well during the 2022 tech stock sell-off. In fact, following the iPhone’s maker’s strong comeback since the start of the year, shares are not far off from their all-time closing high. AAPL stock changes hands today for around $166 per share, versus an all-time closing high of just over $180 per share. Compare that to one of its major peers, Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL). GOOG remains down by about 30% from its high-water mark.
That said, it’s not past and recent performance that makes Apple one of the best tech stocks to buy for the long-term. Instead, as Louis Navellier argued earlier this month, it is the company’s long-term catalysts, such as secular growth in its Services unit, that make Apple stock a great buy and hold contender among tech names.
Analog Devices (ADI)
Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI) is certainly not a household name like Apple. However, this chipmaker doesn’t need to be in the spotlight in order to be one of the best tech stocks to buy and hold. A favorable environment for semiconductor demand of course provided a shot in the arm to this company’s fiscal results, and in turn, to the performance of ADI stock. Although the current slowdown in chip demand may bring growth to a halt in the near-term (based on analyst earnings forecasts), ADI has the potential to stay a winner.
As a maker of chips for both the industrial and automotive sectors, technological trends in both areas point to continued growth in demand for the company’s offerings. A re-acceleration of earnings growth back to historic norms, coupled with ADI’s moderately-sized yet fast-growing dividend, points to strong total returns in the years ahead.
Automatic Data Processing (ADP)
Admittedly, it’s a bit of a stretch to call Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) a tech stock. Technically, the payroll processing and HR services company is classified as being in the industrials sector. Yet, ADP does have a long history of technological innovation. More importantly, it has translated this innovation into a strong track record growth. With this, I think we can consider ADP stock one of the best long-term tech names out there. As I argued last month, Automatic Data Processing continues to have strong long-term growth prospects.
The company is expected to grow earnings by double-digits in the coming years. ADP also continues to deliver strong dividend growth, growing its payouts by an average of 13.8% annually over the past five years. Fairly-priced at 26.5 times forward earnings, ADP may just well end up outperforming shares in many fast-growing but overvalued tech companies.
Meta Platforms (META)
Shares in Facebook parent Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:META) fell to deep value prices during 2022. All as concerns about CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s big bet on the metaverse exacerbated existing worries about the impact of an economic slowdown on the social media giant’s fiscal performance.
However, since Nov., the META stock has more than doubled. Investors have reacted positively to the company’s aggressive cost-cutting efforts. And, even if you missed this stunning comeback, there’s still plenty of time to accumulate. As cost savings fall straight to the bottom line, and as the digital ad market recovers, Meta is well-positioned to report strong earnings growth going forward. After that, the strength of its underlying business, which may face fewer competitive threats than Alphabet’s Google search platform, could enable the company to continue delivering steady earnings growth. This may pave the way for solid returns.
Given the hype surrounding Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its artificial intelligence catalyst, you may think that shares in the software and technology powerhouse have moved up too far, too fast. However, MSFT stock is up by just 19.5% year-to-date, gains that pale in comparison to other names boosted by “AI mania.” Not only that, while it’s going to take some time before Microsoft’s efforts in the area of AI translate into earnings growth, the potential payoff could produce strong returns for patient investors.
Following its strategic investment in ChatGPT developer OpenAI, Microsoft is now busy integrating this technology. The company is not only integrating it into its Bing search platform, but into its Azure cloud computing and Office365 software platforms as well. In time, this could serve as a major accelerant for earnings growth. In turn, fueling substantial share price appreciation in the years ahead.
Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), has high exposure to the growing use of chips in industrial applications. As a Seeking Alpha commentator argued last month, this tailwind far outweighs a top upcoming headwind for this semiconductor company (the loss of Apple as a key mobile chip customer starting in 2025).
There is growing demand for advanced automotive chips, along with chips powering internet of things (or IoT) devices. This stands to drive continued revenue and earnings growth in the years ahead. The benefits for QCOM stock from this are three-fold.
First, shares will keep climbing as earnings rise. Second, as investors become more confident that losing Apple doesn’t mean an end to growth with Qualcomm, this low-priced stock (trading at around 12.7 earnings today) could experience some multiple expansion. Third, higher earnings will drive continued growth of QCOM’s dividend (2.7% forward yield), providing a further boost to future total returns.
Roper Technologies (ROP)
Compared to the other tech stocks to buy and hold listed above, Roper Technologies (NYSE:ROP) is relatively an under-the-radar play. While a large-cap, your average investor likely isn’t as familiar with this stock as they are perhaps with the six aforementioned long-term tech plays.
However, don’t let a lack of familiarity lead you to skip out on ROP stock. A provider of numerous application software, network software, and technology enabled products, serving multiple industries, strong earnings growth has resulted in shares climbing steadily higher over the past decade, with cumulative appreciation of 258.5%.
This trend may have a strong chance of continuing over the next decade. Analyst forecasts call for steady earnings growth in the coming years. Coupled with continued increases in its dividend payouts (with a decades-long track record of dividend growth, ROP has “dividend aristocrat” status), Roper Technologies could produce solid long-term returns for your portfolio.
On the date of publication, Thomas Niel 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.