NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple (AAPL) - Get Report is on its way to becoming the first trillion-dollar market cap company under CEO Tim Cook, who has proven to be an able successor to legendary chief executive Steve Jobs. Having a big market cap means that Apple stock doesn't come cheap, but is it a good buy?

Apple continues to dominate the consumer tech industry: in the first quarter of 2015, Apple revenues grew 30% while the industry revenues grew by 7%. Some 56% of Apple revenues were generated by a single product, the iPhone, in the fourth quarter of 2014, and a whopping 68% in the first quarter of 2015. 

Will Apple stumble or continue the torrid pace of sales of industry-defining gadgets. The recent fiasco with ApplePay -- too many fraudulent transactions -- should serve as a warning that not everything Apple touches is gold

We took a look at the best large-cap tech companies investors should consider right now. Apple is on the list. Here are the top three, according to TheStreet RatingsTheStreet's proprietary ratings tool.

TheStreet Ratings projects a stock's total return potential over a 12-month period including both price appreciation and dividends. Based on 32 major data points,TheStreet Ratings uses a quantitative approach to rating over 4,300 stocks to predict return potential for the next year. The model is both objective, using elements such as volatility of past operating revenues, financial strength, and company cash flows, and subjective, including expected equities market returns, future interest rates, implied industry outlook and forecasted company earnings.

Buying an S&P 500 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 16.56% return in 2014 beating the S&P 500 Total Return Index by 304 basis points. Buying a Russell 2000 stock that TheStreet Ratings rated a "buy" yielded a 9.5% return in 2014, beating the Russell 2000 index, including dividends reinvested, by 460 basis points last year.

Check out which three large-cap tech companies made the list. And when you're done be sure to read about which mid-cap tech stocks to buy now. Year-to-date returns are based on April 24, 2015 closing prices. The highest-rated stock appears last -- read more to see which one is No. 1.

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GOOGL

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3. Google Inc.

(GOOGL) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, B
Market Cap: $390.5 billion
Year-to-date return: 8.1%

Google Inc., a technology company, builds products and provides services to organize the information.

"We rate GOOGLE INC (GOOGL) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, reasonable valuation levels, expanding profit margins and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had somewhat disappointing return on equity."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • GOOGL's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 6.5%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 11.9%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • GOOGL's debt-to-equity ratio is very low at 0.05 and is currently below that of the industry average, implying that there has been very successful management of debt levels. Along with this, the company maintains a quick ratio of 5.28, which clearly demonstrates the ability to cover short-term cash needs.
  • The gross profit margin for GOOGLE INC is rather high; currently it is at 69.99%. It has increased from the same quarter the previous year. Along with this, the net profit margin of 20.77% is above that of the industry average.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly increased by 50.69% to $6,617.00 million when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, GOOGLE INC has also modestly surpassed the industry average cash flow growth rate of 44.21%.

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MSFT

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2. Microsoft Corporation

(MSFT) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, B+
Market Cap: $392.7 billion
Year-to-date return: 3.1%

Microsoft Corporation develops, licenses, markets, and supports software, services, and devices worldwide. The company's Devices and Consumer (D&C) Licensing segment licenses Windows operating system and related software; Microsoft Office for consumers; and Windows Phone operating system.

"We rate MICROSOFT CORP (MSFT) a BUY. This is driven by some important positives, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, reasonable valuation levels, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, increase in stock price during the past year and expanding profit margins. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • MSFT's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 0.7%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 6.5%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Despite currently having a low debt-to-equity ratio of 0.35, it is higher than that of the industry average, inferring that management of debt levels may need to be evaluated further. Even though the debt-to-equity ratio shows mixed results, the company's quick ratio of 2.65 is very high and demonstrates very strong liquidity.
  • Compared to where it was a year ago today, the stock is now trading at a higher level, regardless of the company's weak earnings results. Turning our attention to the future direction of the stock, it goes without saying that even the best stocks can fall in an overall down market. However, in any other environment, this stock still has good upside potential despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year.
  • The gross profit margin for MICROSOFT CORP is currently very high, coming in at 74.02%. Regardless of MSFT's high profit margin, it has managed to decrease from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, MSFT's net profit margin of 22.94% compares favorably to the industry average.

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AAPL

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1. Apple Inc.

(AAPL) - Get Report


Rating: Buy, A+
Market Cap: $758.9 billion
Year-to-date return: 18%

Apple Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, personal computers, and portable digital music players worldwide. The company also sells related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications.

"We rate APPLE INC (AAPL) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, revenue growth and notable return on equity. Although the company may harbor some minor weaknesses, we feel they are unlikely to have a significant impact on results."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Powered by its strong earnings growth of 47.72% and other important driving factors, this stock has surged by 70.17% over the past year, outperforming the rise in the S&P 500 Index during the same period. Regarding the stock's future course, although almost any stock can fall in a broad market decline, AAPL should continue to move higher despite the fact that it has already enjoyed a very nice gain in the past year.
  • APPLE INC has improved earnings per share by 47.7% in the most recent quarter compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company has demonstrated a pattern of positive earnings per share growth over the past two years. We feel that this trend should continue. During the past fiscal year, APPLE INC increased its bottom line by earning $6.43 versus $5.66 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings ($8.72 versus $6.43).
  • The net income growth from the same quarter one year ago has greatly exceeded that of the S&P 500, but is less than that of the Computers & Peripherals industry average. The net income increased by 37.9% when compared to the same quarter one year prior, rising from $13,072.00 million to $18,024.00 million.
  • Despite its growing revenue, the company underperformed as compared with the industry average of 32.9%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues rose by 29.5%. Growth in the company's revenue appears to have helped boost the earnings per share.
  • Current return on equity exceeded its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a clear sign of strength within the company. When compared to other companies in the Computers & Peripherals industry and the overall market, APPLE INC's return on equity exceeds that of the industry average and significantly exceeds that of the S&P 500.

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