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Mini Computers Industry Outlook: Prospects Hold Promise

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The Zacks Computer – Mini Computers industry comprises prominent companies like Apple (AAPL - Free Report) and HP (HPQ - Free Report) that offer devices including smartphones, desktops, laptops, printers, wearables and 3-D printers.

Such devices primarily adopt a multi-operating system, multi-architecture strategies using Apple’s iOS, MacOS, Microsoft Windows, Google Chrome and Android operating systems. They predominantly use processors from Apple, Intel (INTC - Free Report) , AMD, Qualcomm (QCOM - Free Report) , NVIDIA (NVDA - Free Report) , Samsung, Broadcom and MediaTek, among others.

Here are the four major industry themes:

  • Expanding screen size, better display and enhanced storage capabilities have been key catalysts driving rapid proliferation of smartphones. This has been well-supported by faster mobile processors from the likes of Qualcomm (Snapdragon-brand), NVIDIA (Tegra X1), Apple (A12 Bionic) and Samsung (Exynos 9609). Moreover, improved Internet penetration and speed along with evolution of mobile apps have made smartphones indispensable for consumers. Further, the improved graphics quality is making smartphones suitable for playing games like PUBG and Fortnite. This is expected to boost demand for high-end smartphones which open up significant opportunities for device makers.


  • Personal computers (desktops and laptops), be it Windows or Apple’s MacOS-based, have been facing the risk of extinction due to rapid proliferation of smartphones and tablets. Shipment of Personal Computers (PCs) has also suffered due to inventory constraints of Intel’s CPU. Stiff competition from smartphones has compelled global PC makers to not only upgrade hardware frequently but also add apps and cloud-based services to attract consumers.


  • The industry is benefiting from the rapid adoption of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in workplaces. Enterprises practicing BYOD allow employees to use their personal devices, including mobiles, laptops and tablets, for work purposes. BYOD helps in bridging communication gaps between remote workers and desk-bound employees, thereby improving process management and work-flow. Moreover, BYOD has been proved more productive as it lowers training time.


  • The ongoing U.S.-China trade war is a major headwind for the industry participants. Most of these companies have manufacturing operations in China and South-East Asia or generate significant revenues from this region. A slowing China economy and lackluster smartphone demand are major concerns. Further, uncertainty surrounding Brexit is a drag.

Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright Prospects

The Zacks Computer – Mini Computers industry is housed within the broader Zacks Computer And Technology sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #59, which places it in the top 23% of more than 250 Zacks industries.

The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates continued outperformance in the near term. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.

The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of positive earnings outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate earnings estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gaining confidence in this group’s earnings growth potential. Since Apr 30, 2019, the industry’s earnings estimate for the current year has increased almost 2.7%.

Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.

Industry Lags Sector and S&P 500

The Zacks Computer – Mini Computers industry has underperformed the broader Zacks Computer And Technology sector as well as the S&P 500 Index over the past year.

The industry has lost 9.2% over this period compared with the S&P 500’s fall of 0.5% and the broader sector’s decline of 3.4%.

One-Year Price Performance




Industry’s Current Valuation

On the basis of forward 12-month P/E, which is a commonly used multiple for valuing computer stocks, we see that the industry is currently trading at 15.58X compared with the S&P 500’s 16.72X. It is also above the sector’s forward-12-month P/E of 19.97X.

Over the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 17.13X, as low as 10.12X and at the median of 13.66X, as the chart below shows.

Forward 12-Month Price-to-Earnings (P/E) Ratio


Stocks to Consider

None of the stocks in the Computer – Mini Computers industry sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

However, Rock Hill, SC-based 3D Systems (DDD - Free Report) carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The company offers hardware and software for 3D printing. Notably, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2019 loss per share has been flat at 11 cents over the past seven days.

Price and Consensus: DDD


We also present a couple of stocks with a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) that investors may currently hold on to.

Cupertino, CA-based Apple is well-known for its flagship iPhone, iPad and Mac personal computers. Apple Watch, HomePod and AirPods are some of its newest consumer offerings. The consensus mark for fiscal 2019 earnings has increased by 4 cents to $11.67 over the past week.

Price and Consensus: AAPL


Palo Alto, CA-based HP is a leading global provider of PCs and imaging and printing products. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2019 earnings stayed put at $2.21 over the past seven days.

Price and Consensus: HPQ



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