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2013 has been a strong year for hard drive maker
Seagate Technology (
STX). Since the start of of the year, shares of the firm have rallied 30%, leaving the rest of the tech sector in the dust from a performance standpoint.
That's not a huge surprise. After all, the computer storage business has been hot in recent years, fuelled by big consumer trends like cloud computing and online movie and game distribution that greatly increase storage demand. Seagate is well-positioned to keep benefitting from that increased need for drives.
Like Intel, Seagate is standard bearer in its business. STX is the biggest manufacturer of enterprise hard drives, the storage medium that powers the world's servers and IT departments. Because most of Seagate's sales come from original equipment manufacturers rather than end-users, the firm should continue to benefit as storage needs grow, even if the PC manufacturers themselves struggle to find margins.
Solid-state drives do pose some threat to Seagate's business, especially in the high-end corners of the consumer and enterprise world. SSDs are much smaller and faster than conventional hard drives, but they offset those benefits with a far greater cost. Stop-gaps like hybrid drives should help knock fence-sitters over into Seagate's site of the business while the firm builds up its expertise in solid state media.
Right now, Seagate pays out a 38-cent dividend for a 3.85% yield. But not for long. Expect a hike to STX's payout in the near-term.