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In a matter of just a few years, “the Cloud” has evolved from the new feature that your grandmother just can’t quite seem to understand to one of the main factors driving growth in the technology sector. Cloud computing is now an essential focus for software-related companies, and cloud stocks have piqued the interest of many tech-focused investors.

New technologies and changing consumer behavior have changed the shape of the technology landscape, and an industry that was once centered on the personal computer has adapted to survive in the world of mobile computing and the Cloud. The markets have been paying attention, and some of the best tech stocks have been those that are either primarily cloud-based companies, or those that have shown growth in their cloud operations.

With this in mind, we’ve highlighted three stocks that are not only showing strong cloud-related activity, but also strong fundamental metrics. Check out these three cloud stocks to buy right now:

1.       Microsoft Corporation (MSFT - Free Report)

It feels necessary to include one of the industry’s cloud behemoths, and perhaps no platform’s growth has been as impressive as Microsoft’s as of late. In its most recent quarter, Azure revenues grew by a staggering 98%, lifting the company’s overall Intelligent Cloud sales by more than 15% year-over-year.

Microsoft is currently a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The software giant has now met or surpassed earnings estimates in seven consecutive quarters. Earnings and revenue are projected to grow by 9% and 13%, respectively, this fiscal year. The stock’s P/E of 24.36 is slightly concerning, but that is actually a significant compared to our “Computer – Software” industry average. Microsoft also generates plenty of cash and offers a respectable 1.91% dividend yield.

 

2.       Progress Software Corporation (PRGS - Free Report)

Progress develops software and cloud-based products that assist clients with application deployment, application management, data connectivity, web content management, and predictive analytics. The company has shifted its focus to cloud computing and is looking to expand its cloud subscription offerings. Currently, PRGS is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Progress is currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The firm recently surpassed earnings estimates for the fifth-consecutive quarter, inspiring several positive estimate revisions for upcoming periods. This is a stock to love based on its earnings growth, with consensus estimates calling for EPS expansion of 41% this quarter and 24% this fiscal year.

 

3.       Aspen Technology, Inc. (AZPN - Free Report)

Aspen Technology is a recognized expert and leading provider of asset optimization and process simulation software. The company’s aspenONE Exchange platform provides a cloud-hosted repository of tools, and the firm clearly states its belief that its industry is moving to the cloud. Aspen also recently acquired the industrial Internet of Things cloud-native software and edge connectivity assets of a smaller software firm.

Earnings estimates have been trending significantly higher for the company, with our consensus estimate for its current fiscal year gaining 10 cents in just the past 30 days. Meanwhile, the stock has a “B” grade for Growth in our Style Scores system, indicating that it could be a good pick for explosive investors. Valuation metrics are stretched, but the nature of today’s tech market suggests that AZPN could continue to surge on improved analyst sentiment and a budding business.

 

Want more analysis from this author? Make sure to follow @Ryan_McQueeney on Twitter!

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