Tech giants Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG) are both trading around $600 per share. Even IBM, an enterprise giant, is riding right at $200. Just to get in the door, that's a lot of money to plop down for an infinitesimal stake in a massive tech company. While any investor can lament not buying Apple stock back in February of 2007 (when it traded below $70/share), it's not too late to capitalize on the tech industry's current and future successes. Here are some investment ideas that wouldn't require a lot of capital to get into, but may well prove to provide a steady return due to their close ties to the big boys in Silicon Valley.
Hewlett Packard (HPQ) - Unarguably one of the driving forces in the Valley, Hewlett Packard is recovering from a poorly-executed attempt to move into the Enterprise sector completely in order to compete more directly with IBM and Oracle. Under new CEO Meg Whitman, however, HP seems to have at least a better direction, and trading at under $25, this stock may prove to be a decent buy and hold investment.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) - Year to date, Advanced Micro Devices has surged almost 70% to a very manageable $8 per share. AMD is one of the main players in both the CPU and GPU industries, with products across all sectors of computing, and has a lot of potential to increase its market share even more.
Intel (INTC) - Certainly the biggest name in microprocessors, Intel puts its chips in products from just about every major player in every technology sector in existence. While its graphics offerings are still being enhanced (AMD's the better bet there), it holds an unassailable position in CPUs, and is trading just above $27, while showing a YTD trend of consistent growth.
Marvell Technology Group (MRVL) - Marvell Technology Group is one of Apple's suppliers, and while it is currently trading at $15 and change, analysts place its target at a decent $20. Additionally, Marvell announced that its partnership with Western Digital (WDC, $41) has resulted in over 1 billion hard drives shipped with Marvell microprocessors installed. Perhaps MRVL isn't going to explode in new growth, but it doesn't look like it's going to crash any time soon.
Panasonic (PC) - Panasonic has been investing heavily in renewable energy sources, but trading at under $8, this company has seen dramatic price drops and is at a 9-year low. However, with a biannual dividend payout, Panasonic might be a good investment, especially considering that their hardware winds up not only in their own PCs, but also in the products of many other manufacturers like Apple, Lenovo, and HP.
Seagate Technology (STX) - Seagate Technology, a manufacturer of hard drives, is trading at a 9-year high of $29, but with demand for both traditional hard drives and solid-state drives (flash storage) continually growing, any storage manufacturer is a good bet. Besides, Seagate pays quarterly dividends.
Everyone wishes they had struck it rich with Apple, Dell, McDonald's, or any number of other Wall Street successes. However, for the majority of us, smaller, measured trades based on sound research will provide the modest returns that help us both now and in retirement.