3 Reasons Why This is a No-Brainer Stock to Own

While there are many high-growth tech companies, these can be tough investments to own. It’s often the case that they are one-hit wonders and competition will eat away at the core business. Yet there are some tech companies that are “built to last,” such as Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO).
Interestingly enough, there is one company that has been overlooked and belongs with these names. It has fended off rivals like Microsoft and has continued to innovate and deal with major technology shifts, such as the Internet.

For shareholders, Intuit (Nasdaq: INTU) has been a consistent performer. The stock’s total return for the past 10 years is about 134%, or 9% annually. The S&P 500 is virtually flat during this time period. As for the past five years, it has returned about 89%, or 13.5% annually. 


Intuit has grown revenue every year for the past decade, with an average growth rate of 12%. The customer base is now a whopping 50 million. All in all, the long-term prospects continue to be promising. In fact, the near-term also looks strong.

Let’s take a look at the three main drivers for the stock:

1. Multiple revenue streams: Intuit’s core businesses include personal finance, payroll, bookkeeping and tax services. Interestingly enough, the company has No. 1 market shares for all of these categories.

The businesses have strong moats. Once a customer uses the software — such as by inputting lots of financial information — it’s tough to move over to another solution. At the same time, Intuit’s products provide recurring revenue. Just look at TurboTax. During last year’s tax season, the software grew revenue from $777 million to $871 million. Operating income was a juicy $705 million.

As a sign of the strength of the tax business, Intuit has been taking business away from traditional preparation companies like H&R Block (NYSE: HRB), whose stock has plunged.

#-ad_banner-#2. The cloud and mobile: In the past few years, the technology industry has undergone some major shifts. One is cloud-computing, which uses the Internet to deliver services. This is becoming the preferred approach for consumers and businesses. The business model is also different in that it usually involves a subscription.

Mobile is another fast-growing category. This year, more people will have access to the Internet via their phones than desktop computers.

And yes, Intuit has been working hard to stay ahead of the curve. It is one of the world’s largest cloud companies — with $1 billion in revenue. What’s more, Intuit has launched several innovative mobile applications. For example, SnapTax allows you to file a 1040EZ with your iPhone. This involves taking a picture of your W-2 and answering some questions.

3. Aggressive M&A: Intuit realizes that it must look outside for innovations. This means focusing on acquisitions. The company has a long history of deal making. It was in 1993 that Inuit bought Chipsoft, the maker of TurboTax.

With $1.6 billion in the bank, Intuit is positioned nicely to continue acquisitions. One interesting deal was for Medfusion. The company develops software that allows consumers to see their medical lab results and make payments online. No doubt, Intuit sees health care as yet another category for strong growth.

Action to Take–> For the long haul, more and more consumers will move to the Web and smartphones to do their finances. So far, Intuit has the right tools to benefit from this trend. But the company also realizes that there are tremendous opportunities in foreign markets. Asia has 200 million small businesses, for example. And Intuit is making strides in India, for example.

But in the next couple of years, the company should also get a boost from the economic recovery. As unemployment improves, this will help Intuit’s tax, booking and payroll businesses.

True, the stock is not cheap, with a price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 28 and a price-to-sales ratio (P/S) of 4.4. But then again, there should be a premium for a franchise company. So for those investors who want a stock as a long-term holding, the valuation certainly looks reasonable.