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Tech Titans Regain Their Luster as Oracle Stock Surges Toward Record

Technology
0 min read

The once high-flying tech giants are back in vogue on Wall Street. After years of being written off as passé in the face of disruptive upstarts, the established behemoths are reminding investors why their cash-gushing businesses should never be counted out.

On Tuesday, it was Oracle’s turn to shine. Shares of the legacy database software provider spiked more than 12% in trading, putting Oracle stock on pace for a record high close above $127. The surge came just a day after the company reported fiscal third-quarter results that handily beat earnings estimates, fueled by blistering growth in its cloud computing segment.

Oracle’s blockbuster performance adds to the growing buzz around technology’s old guard in 2024. After watching shares of Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Alphabet get pummeled last year, investors have been re-embracing these highly profitable tech titans thanks to their prodigious free cash flows, resilient business models and aggressive capital return programs.

The renaissance has been particularly striking given how deeply unfashionable these names were just a year ago. Investors had been obsessing over the latest buzzworthy upstarts in areas like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity and electric vehicles. The established giants were dismissed as stodgy has-beens.

But with recession fears mounting, markets have been gravitating back toward these cash-rich juggernauts and their ability to keep generating profits. Microsoft shares are up nearly 20% year-to-date, while Apple is up around 25%. Even former whipping boy IBM has staged an impressive comeback, surging over 15% in 2024.

“The big tech gorillas are back in control,” said King Lip, chief investment strategist at Bakerie Capital. “When the economy gets shaky, investors want to hide out in companies generating boatloads of cash with little risk. That’s exactly what these giants provide.”

Oracle, Microsoft and several other tech stalwarts have also been riding a bullish cloud computing wave, as businesses ramp up spending to modernize their legacy systems and brace for an AI boom many expect will require powerful cloud infrastructure.

In its earnings report on Monday, Oracle said revenue from its cloud services and license support segment jumped 12% in the latest quarter. CEO Safra Catz touted the company’s cloud infrastructure business as having “great leverage” for artificial intelligence workloads.

Several Wall Street analysts raised their price targets on Oracle stock on Tuesday, citing enthusiasm over the company’s cloud momentum and strong positioning for an AI-driven renaissance in database migration.

“We’re encouraged Oracle’s massive installed base could act as a catalyst for AI cloud adoption, leading to a re-acceleration in its cloud growth trajectory over the next 12-24 months,” analysts at investment firm Maxim wrote on Tuesday.

While Oracle currently trails the cloud infrastructure leaders like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud, many expect rising demand for AI applications to be a boon for all major cloud platforms in coming years.

Microsoft has been an early leader in this space, striking partnerships with OpenAI, Anthropic and others to embed intelligent capabilities into its Office productivity suite and cloud services. Google Cloud has also made AI a key focus area under new CEO Thomas Kurian.

Within the semiconductor space, Nvidia shares have already more than doubled this year as investors bet on surging demand for its high-powered chips from cloud providers building out AI infrastructure. AMD has also been a big winner for similar reasons.

Of course, the rekindled passion for big tech could easily flame out if macroeconomic conditions deteriorate more than expected and cash flows get crunched. Valuations are hardly bargain-basement across this segment of the market.

But for now, investors seem more than happy to ride the cash flow train with these entrenched players as they gear up for an AI-driven future likely to boost their cloud-related business lines. After so many years of being shunned for fresh new faces, the elder statesmen of tech have re-established their importance in an uncertain economic climate.

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