While the enterprise software makers are in the doldrums, and the financial sector tries to recover from a battering, a few specialty software firms, including Intapp Inc. NASDAQ: INTA, Vertex Inc. NASDAQ: VERX, and GuidewIre Software Inc. NYSE: GWRE are headed toward greater profitability, and also boast strong chart action.
When scouting for stocks with the probability to rise in price, look for prior run-ups, combined with sustained buying. Also watch for increased sales and earnings, or at least strong forecasts for earnings growth, in line with revenue growth.
Intapp, Vertex and Guidewire have those traits in common and are outperforming the majority of their financial-software industry peers.
And there’s no concern that bank failures will cause their customers to slow their purchasing; all these firms serve business customers with very specific needs. Analysts forecast robust earnings growth at all three companies.
Here’s why these are worth a look as potential growers within your portfolio.
With a market capitalization of $2.7 billion, Intapp is at that cusp between small-cap and mid-cap. The stock advanced 68.47% in the past three months, getting a boost in February, following better-than-expected second-quarter results.
The company earned $0.03 per share on revenue of $84.69 million, both topping Wall Street views.
The Palo Alto, California company makes cloud-based software applications for business customers in industries including investment banking, accounting, consulting, private equity, and legal. The software is designed for heavily regulated businesses that must also streamline client service.
Revenue growth accelerated in the past two quarters and has been growing at double-digit rates for the past eight. The company pivoted to profitability in the third quarter of 2022.
This year, Wall Street expects Intapp to earn $0.05 a share, the first time it’s expected to post a profitable year since going public in 2021. Next year, that’s seen growing by 187% to $0.14 a share. MarketBeat analyst data show a “buy” rating on the stock.
Vertex - not to be confused with Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. NASDAQ: VRTX - is also a new company, having made its public debut in July 2020. This Vertex makes corporate tax processing software and provides consulting services to end users in various industries, including telecommunications, hospitality, leasing, and oil and gas.
The stock is up 22.15% in the past month and 27.43% in the past three months. Shares gapped up 23.7% on March 8, as you can see on its chart, particularly if you use a bar or candlestick view.
The gap-up, as you might imagine, followed a fourth-quarter report that topped views. MarketBeat earnings data show the company earned $0.05 a share on revenue of $131.13 million, beating views on the top and bottom lines. Vertex topped revenue estimates in each of the past six quarters.
With the March 8 gap higher, the stock cleared a cup pattern that began in mid-November, with a buy point above $19.30. Shares closed March 27 at $19.18, meaning they remain in buy range. Wall Street expects a decrease in earnings this year, but a healthy bounce in 2024, to $0.12 per share.
San Mateo, California-based Guidewire runs a platform for property and casualty insurance companies to manage business operations. Guidewire makes software applications for claims management, underwriting, policy administration, billing, and customer relationship management. The goal is to help insurance companies streamline operations and improve efficiency.
Flashy? No. Important to a specific industry? Yes.
This one is a little different from Intapp and Vertex, in that there’s some turnaround potential here, and it is likely one to watch for the medium term.
Here’s where investors with patience may be rewarded: The company lost money in 2022 and is expected to do the same this year. However, analysts expect the mid-cap company to return to profitability in 2024. The company recently raised its revenue outlook for fiscal 2023, a positive sign.
Guidewire’s three-year sales growth rate is 6%.
The stock’s technicals are healthy, as you can see on its chart. The stock is currently holding well above its 50-day moving average, after clearing a flat base in mid-March. It’s in buy range, and analysts have a “moderate buy” rating on the stock, but investors may want to keep an eye on the stock and watch how it progresses as it gradually returns to profitability.
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