Informatica (INFA): The Next Cloud Computing Winner?

March 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Commentary, Pick of the Week, Stocks

With the Nasdaq poised to resume leadership among U.S. stock indexes, technology looks like a sector with bullish potential. Even so, smart investors know that picking the right stock will still be extremely important.

One niche we like is cloud computing. We’ve previously highlighted the cloud computing trend. We talked about several cloud computing stocks that may help investors profit from the group’s rapid growth. Today we add one more name to that list: Informatica Corp. (INFA). California-based Informatica boasts some strong fundamentals. In the most recent quarter, Informatica reported its profits rose 29% and revenue surged 21%.

Analysts are forecasting earnings growth of 11% in 2010 and 20% in 2011. Those are impressive statistics. According to Investor’s Business Daily, which features Informatica among its top 100 stocks, the number of mutual funds owning Informatica shares rose to 213 from 188 during the last quarter. That’s another positive sign that the smart money crowd is taking note of the stock.

Informatica is taking steps to enter new business segments, highlighted by the company’s January acquisition of Siperian, a master data management company. This was Informatica’s first foray into that space and the company’s biggest acquisition to date. The Siperian buy was greeted warmly by both investors and customers. It makes sense as master data management is one of the fastest growing sub-sectors in the tech space.

Given all of the news, it isn’t surprising to see analysts enthused about Informatica. Just this week Broadpoint AmTech mentioned Informatica as one of its top cloud computing picks. The stock is up more than 15% in the past month and touched a new 52-week high Tuesday on heavy volume.

Whether you call Informatica a growth stock or a momentum stock, the signs are decidedly bullish at this point. Yet the company still has value relative to other tech stocks. For example, the stock trades for nearly five times book value and over 22 times forward earnings. Compare these numbers to Amazon (AMZN), which is trading around 11 times book value and 34 times forward earnings. Informatica looks cheap in comparison.

Regardless of comparisons, Informatica is a strong stock in a strong sector. This means more gains could lie ahead. To play the cloud computing angle with a strong company, go with INFA.

INFA Chart

Disclosure covering writer, editor, publisher, and affiliates: No positions in any of the securities mentioned. No positions in any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned. No income, revenue, or other compensation (either directly or indirectly) received from, or on behalf of, any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned.

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