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Companies that automate and integrate information are the cleanup crews of the new millennium. It's often hard and dirty work. And lucrative.
Investors have taken more risks in recent weeks, pushing up the Nasdaq Composite Index more than the S&P 500 Index. Some tech firms have fared better than those in other industries this year because many carry little to no debt and clients are hungry for updated software and other equipment to keep up with rivals.
The following are two potential beneficiaries of a tech-spending rebound. They are among 76 of 1,001 information-technology stocks covered by TheStreet.com Ratings that have earned "buy" recommendations.Tyler Technologies (TYL - Get Report), based in Dallas, provides integrated information-management services to local governments in all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.K. State, local and municipal governments have more decentralized (read: inefficient) information-technology services than the private sector, with total expenditures last year estimated at $55 billion. Local-government agencies are struggling to keep pace with the private sector's automation and Internet initiatives. Tyler Technologies' 7,000 customers have bought services from the company for an average of 20 years, creating recurring revenue that provides stability. Tyler Technologies' first-quarter revenue rose 17% to $70 million, exceeding the industry's average of 11%. More importantly, earnings per share and operating margin doubled to 16 cents and 14%, respectively. Unfortunately, the company has a lackluster cash position. Since last year's first quarter, Tyler's cash balance has fallen 82% as the company aggressively invested to expand its business. Tyler also absorbed $7.5 million in debt to fuel growth.