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7 Top JP Morgan Picks in IT Services

The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.

NEW YORK (Insider Monkey) -- J.P. Morgan published a report Jan. 12 identifying the best information technology and business process outsourcing services stocks. The report isn't publicly available but we will share its main points. In the report, Tien-tsin Huang, Puneet Jain and Dick Wei share their opinion of the IT and BPO Services stocks performing better relative to the S&P 500 in 2012.

Stocks that have a high mix of offshore delivery, have the ability to cut costs of clients, have high exposure to health care, and have investments with a long-term impact on growth profile are preferred. The overall IT services budget is expected to be flat "with a potential for modest declines" as the macroeconomic environment worsens. Here are the stocks discussed in the report:

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Accenture (ACN) operates as a management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. It has been given an overweight rating by JP Morgan due to its strong client relationships. Accenture is able to meet the needs of its clients faster than its competitors, giving it an edge over them. The company is in a position to execute its high return-on-investment projects as well as cutting costs for its clients.

The company's outsourcing may also be able to pick up on any slack. Accenture's stock is relatively defensive to the macroeconomic uncertainties, according to J.P. Morgan. Shares of the company are currently trading at $53.3 per share and are expected to reach a price target of $62, indicating a potential upside of 16%. Lansdowne Partners has the largest stake in Accenture among the 350-plus hedge funds we are tracking.

Cognizant (CTSH) provides information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services. It has been given an overweight rating by JP Morgan as they believe that Cognizant is going to grow at industry-leading rates. The vendor consolidation trend is expected to be beneficial for the company. If the current macroeconomic uncertainties persist, Cognizant is expected to grow around 15% to 20%. If not, it is expected to grow in the high 20s or low 30s. The company has focused on client relationships and the opening of new markets, enabling it to grow faster than its competitors. Shares of the company are currently trading at $68 and are expected to go north of $85 per share. Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital initiated a new position in CTSH during the third quarter.

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