A Jefferies analyst says there's a 'tech buyers' strike' going on - but thinks these 4 tech stocks will still outperform

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A Jefferies analyst says there's a 'tech buyers' strike' going on - but thinks these 4 tech stocks will still outperform
Amazon and other tech employees walkout during the Global Climate Strike on September 20, 2019 in Seattle, Washington.Karen Ducey/Getty Images
  • There's a tech stock "buyers' strike" going on, according to Jefferies analyst Brent Thill.
  • In an interview with CNBC on Wednesday, Thill said tech shares will continue to face pressure in the near term.
  • The analyst also laid out four tech stocks set to outperform despite the pullback.

Brent Thill, Jefferies senior tech analyst and managing director, sat down with CNBC on Wednesday to discuss the recent pullback in tech shares.

The analyst said that there has been an ongoing "tech buyers' strike" and that he has reduced his valuations on some 70% of the companies in the sector.

"Money is going to other obvious areas that are opening…if you look at all those names, they're all benefitting. And if you look at tech you'd say wow the market feels like it's down, but the market is up, right? It's just right now there's a tech buyers' strike," Thill said.

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The analyst said Jefferies' tech desk has become more "constructive" on tech after the recent pullback, but they believe there is still a 10% to 15% move down in tech before it bottoms out.

Thill pointed out that Squarespace went public via a direct listing and its stock was down 12% from its reference price.

"Right now there's just a buyers' strike, no one wants to be in the group. And typically when no one wants to be in the group, that's the time to start to buy," he said.

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Despite tech buyers' reticence, Thill argued there are "selective opportunities in tech."

"It's not about owning the entire group, it's about owning these select names…don't back up the truck on the entire group," Thill said.

The analyst laid out four of his top picks in the interview, which include Intuit, Microsoft, Adobe, and Wix.

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Intuit

Thill named Intuit as one of his top tech stocks on Wednesday. The analyst said Intuit has had 12 straight years of positive returns with 70% of those years offering double-digit percentage returns to investors.

Thill expects 2021 to be Intuit's 13th straight year of positive returns and said the company is consistent, has a "great management team," and "defends investors" with share buybacks.

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Thill holds a "buy" rating and a $460 price target on shares of Intuit.

Microsoft

Microsoft is "leveraging the power of the cloud" and is set to outperform moving forward, according to Jefferies.

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In a note to clients after Microsoft's first-quarter earnings release last month Thill said the growth of the company's Azure cloud business was impressive and noted there was "massive acceleration" in commercial bookings.

Expectations are high with Microsoft, according to the analyst, but the stock is still a solid pick for investors.

Thill holds a "buy" rating and a $290 price target on shares of Microsoft.

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Read more: Buy these 20 infrastructure stocks set to crush the market as Congress prepares a multi-trillion-dollar deal, Raymond James says

Adobe

Thill has been a long-time Adobe bull.

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The analyst believes Adobe will benefit from artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, automation bots, speech recognition, natural language processing, and image recognition, with Flagship products including the Creative Suite, Photoshop, Acrobat, Premiere, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, and more leading the way.

Thill holds a "buy" rating and a $560 price target on shares of Adobe.

Wix

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Thill said Wix is an under-the-radar "hybrid software/internet play" that investors should keep an eye on.

According to the analyst, the Israeli software company has sold off too much of late despite being a "great story" that helps small businesses get online.

Wix is larger than competitors like Squarespace in terms of revenue and the ease of use of its platform is an advantage, according to the analyst.

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Thill holds a "buy" rating and $360 price target on shares of Wix.

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