With a surprising cash windfall for every American household, investors may want to pounce on these top tech stocks before the holiday season ramps up…
The biggest story over the past year is that the US economy appears to finally be on the road to terra firma.
And here’s more evidence of it…
Last year, the average household in America got $1,200 richer — but you probably didn’t notice.
But in fact, a recent report suggests that the surging energy boom in the US was responsible for giving Americans the unexpected cash injection…and then some.
According to business consultancy firm IHS CERA, the energy sector contributed to some 2.1 million jobs, $75 billion in federal and state revenues, $283 billion to the US GDP and lifted household income by more than $1,200 in the process.
With record natural gas production by way of hydraulic fracturing bringing prices down to less than half of what it was just five years ago, economic activities have increased across the board.
As IHS CERA noted, fracking’s become a blessing for both consumers and manufacturers alike and has yielded positive outcomes beyond just the energy space.
“The unconventional oil and gas revolution is not only an energy story, it is also a very big economic story,” says Daniel Yergin, IHS vice chairman. “The growth of long-term, low-cost energy supplies is benefiting households and helping to revitalize U.S. manufacturing, creating a competitive advantage for U.S. industry and for the United States itself.”
Should the energy sector maintain its brisk production levels and keep prices low, IHS estimates that jobs attributed to oil and gas production could reach 3.3 million by 2020.
Furthermore, disposable income could rise from $1,200 per household in 2012 to $2,700 by 2020 and over $3,500 by 2025 — all due to lower energy prices.
But IHS isn’t alone in its optimistic outlook.
In a new study by energy brokerage firm Mercator Energy, Americans are also saving billions each year through lower utility bills.
According to the Department of Energy, the price of natural gas averaged approximately $7.20/MMBTU from 2003 – 2008, before the fracking craze went ballistic.
By the time 2012 rolled around, so much gas had been unlocked through horizontal drilling and fracking that prices were slashed to $2.80/MMBTU.
Mercator analyzed data from the Energy Information Administration to determine how the $4.40 price drop (61% discount) affected utility bills. It was staggering..
The EIA estimates that American households average approximately 7.4 billion MMBTUs to power their homes every year. For 2012… that meant a savings of $32.5 billion.
All this adds up to a pretty nice wad of spending money just in time for Christmas, doesn’t it?
Top Tech Stocks to Buy Today:
Now, although the holidays isn’t for another three months, the timing couldn’t be better to take advantage of two tech stocks that are gearing up for a busy fall and winter season.
First up is Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). After recently unveiling both its highly anticipated iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, the company was greeted with a rather skeptical reaction from media, techheads, and investors.
On September 11th, shares of AAPL fell 6% mainly due to iPhone’s high price-point concerns. It was Apple’s largest one day drop in eight months, erasing $30 billion from its market cap.
A trio of banks including Merrill Lynch, UBS and Credit Suisse helped spur the sell-off when they downgraded the stock to neutral.
However, this leaves around 70% of brokers covering the stock still rating Apple’s stock as a buy, according to Thomson Reuters.
Investment firm Piper Jaffray Companies notes that in its study of Twitter users, consumer sentiment improved soon after the launch event as negative reactions from tech experts and analysts eventually gave way to more positive general public opinion.
More importantly, Apple just cleared a regulatory hurdle in China a few weeks back that will allow iPhones to be used on China Mobile’s new LTE network. Once an agreement with China Mobile is in place, Apple will have an opportunity to sell its new phones to 700 million potential new customers.
Next is Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE).
A weak yen and strong smartphone sales during the year propelled Sony shares to new highs not seen since 2011.
However, these aren’t the catalysts that are projected to push Sony even higher in the next few months.
For those who have been hiding under a rock of late, the Japanese electronics firm has scheduled November 15th to be the launch date of its flagship Playstation 4 video game console.
For the tech experts who have been fortunate enough to test drive both the PS4 and Microsoft’s XBox One platform, the early verdict is leaning towards Sony.
Right out of the gate, Sony took a commanding lead when Microsoft announced its strict digital rights management (DRM) policy that blocked used game sales after they’ve been purchased brand new. XBox One consoles also required users to connect to the Internet once every 24 hours.
Microsoft has since changed its policy, but Sony maintains a slight lead in other areas.
Firstly, not only is the Xbox One set to launch one week after PS4 (thus giving the PS4 a full two weeks lead time till Black Friday), it could also face an initial sticker shock as its console will be $100 more expensive than the PS4’s $399 price tag.
Xbox is justifying its retail cost by bundling the system with the Kinect interactive camera. That said, even though the PS4’s Eye must be bought separately, the Eye only costs $59.
Ultimately, from greater bandwidth to better multi-device integration to free access to console apps that are behind a paywall on the XBox One, the PS4 offers a better bang for your buck.
Of course, none of that matters when gamers are really only concerned about one thing: games.
However, with both platforms expected to offer a series of impressive titles to kick off the new generation of gaming, the cheaper PS4 is shaping up to be the overall better choice in terms of value.
As the buzz for video game supremacy continues to build over the next two months, I expect Sony’s shares to maintain its impressive climb in 2013.
Christmas can’t come soon enough.
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