The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Splunk, Microsoft, Invesco QQQ Trust, Adobe and Alibaba

For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – July 14, 2020 – announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include: Splunk Inc. SPLK, Microsoft Corporation MSFT, Invesco QQQ Trust QQQ, Adobe Inc. ADBE and Alibaba Group Holding Limited BABA.

Here are highlights from Monday’s Analyst Blog:

My Top Picks Review

- by Daniel Laboe

I wrote a piece near the bottom of the COVID-crisis on March 19th called My Top 10 Watch List, now I want to dissect my picks. I want to look at how and why they performed the way they did. The market has rallied an incredible amount since mid-March, and hopefully, you were able to reap the same strong returns that I was the past 4 months.

My Picks

Tech stocks have been the relative outperformers in the past few months, with the world experiencing 5 years of digitalization in 5 months. Innovation-driven growth stocks made up the largest portion of my gains since mid-March, as I'm sure you have experienced in your portfolios.

My 10 picks were intended to provide investors with a wide range of high-quality stocks that would maintain liquidity amid the highly uncertain times and were poised to drive returns throughout the Roaring 20s. As a whole, my picks (equal-weighted) outperformed the S&P 500 by 4 percentage points.

Below are the 5 outperformers from My Top 10 Watch List. 


Splunk was my high-risk/high-reward play, and its performance has illustrated that with a soaring share price from the March bottom. SPLK rallied over 90% since the article, with the markets pricing back in the necessity of this enterprise’s real-time data management.

With the world moving towards full automation, managing, analyzing, and providing actionable outcomes on machine data is going to be a requirement for businesses to stay competitive. Splunk’s market control of this niche segment makes the stock incredibly attractive.

I’m not looking to add to my SPLK position until we see a pullback as the shares have risen to very frothy levels.


Microsoft has been a powerhouse of stock since March 19th, driving returns of 57% for those investors lucky enough to win at this time. Microsoft’s sizable cloud product breadth of essential software and digital business necessities has continued to drive this cutting-edge enterprise to new seemingly impossible levels.

MSFT is being pushed to new all-time highs seemingly every day. Microsoft has been driving innovative growth in the equity markets for decades, and I’m confident it will continue in the decade ahead. Again, I will not be adding to my position in MSFT until I see a broader tech pullback.

Invesco Nasdaq 100 ETF

QQQ is being propelled to continuously new highs by the trillion-dollar club, aka Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. These three innovation-driven enterprises makeup roughly 1/3rd of QQQ and have driven the ETF to the stratosphere with returns of more than 57% from March 10th.

This an excellent ETF option that I would highly recommend holding in your portfolio for the anticipated technological revolution of the Roaring 20s. Still, I would wait for a pullback before I considered adding to my position.


ADBE, MSFT, and QQQ all tied for second on my March 19th watch list, with each of them appreciating roughly 57%. ADBE’s sails have been filled with a pandemic-driven tailwind that has propelled the “stay-at-home” cloud market.

Adobe is a legacy software player that has been able to stay ahead of the innovative curve for decades. Adobe was able to transition its essential business software to a cloud-based offering successfully.

The enterprise was an early mover on cloud computing, which has propelled ADBE shares to continuously new highs. These shares have outperformed the S&P 500 by almost 10-fold in the past 5 years. I expect this relative outperformance to continue as this trailblazing tech giant continues to expand.

Adobe’s subscription-based business model has allowed the company to grow its sales quarter-over-quarter for more than 5 years. Expanding revenues by more than 20% while producing large growing profits is a feat that very few companies can claim.


BABA shares are just starting the breakout of their COVID trading rut since the beginning of July, driving 20% growth since the beginning of this month. BABA is relatively undervalued from my perspective, and I would still consider these shares a robust buy around the $250 per share price level.

Alibaba controls the e-commerce space (80% market share), as well as its cloud-computing category (roughly 50% market share) of the most populous and soon-to-be-largest economy in the world.

Alibaba is valued at less than half of Amazon despite producing substantially wider margins, much stronger profitability, and having a much larger topline growth outlook for the next couple of years.

I expect big things out of BABA in the coming decade.

The Takeaway

The equity market has run up quite a bit these past 4 months with tech leading the way. We are approaching Q2 earnings season, and these seemingly stretched valuations in the tech sector will be put to the test. I would be cautious with any stock purchases going into this earnings season. Investors may be looking to pull profits with technology stocks illustrating parabolic gains the past few months.

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report
Adobe Systems Incorporated (ADBE): Free Stock Analysis Report
Splunk Inc. (SPLK): Free Stock Analysis Report
Invesco QQQ (QQQ): ETF Research Reports
Alibaba Group Holding Limited (BABA): Free Stock Analysis Report
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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