(Adds that Goldman's outlook was cut by S&P.)BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Goldman Sachs ( GS) analysts have nine technology stocks on their short list for now, with six-month price targets that are as high as 61%. The Wall Street investment bank regularly updates its "conviction buy" list and the technology recommendations include some of the most commonly held technology stocks, including personal-computing bellwether Apple ( AAPL), and business-technology giants Oracle ( ORCL) and EMC ( EMC), as well as some smaller unknowns such as Synchronoss Technologies ( SNCR). Technology stocks have been battered this year, losing 4.4% of their value in a volatile ride, but in the quarter to date, they are up 2.3%. The gist of it is, if the economy gets rolling, so will technology stocks, but for now, Goldman Sachs is saying this is the best of the bunch. Goldman's main rival, Morgan Stanley ( MS), most recently has favored stocks with a defensive bent. The firm said earlier this month that its model portfolio of 48 stocks is overweight in utilities, health care and consumer staples, and is underweight in consumer discretionary and industrials, both of which have underperformed this year. Goldman Sachs itself, along with its competitors, had long-term credit grades cut today by Standard & Poor's, hurt by Europe's debt crisis and a tweaking of rating criteria. On the following pages are Goldman Sachs' nine stock picks in the technology sector:
Apple ( AAPL), one of the most widely held stocks in the world and maker of the iPad and iPhone, gets a $520 price target from Goldman's analysts, which means a 38% appreciation potential. Despite this stock's great run, up an average of 43% per year over the past 10 years, Goldman analysts still see great value. The firm's analysts write in a recent research note that "we still expect the company to deliver solid December-quarter results, boosted by iPhone sales momentum." They say the company had "a tough miss" in its fiscal quarter ending in September, falling short of analysts' estimates "but (we) expect a sharp holiday snapback. " "Revenues of $28 billion and (earnings) of $7.05 (per share) were below our estimates of $29 billion and $7.30 and consensus of $30 billion and $7.38," said the Goldman research note. "This was an uncommon earnings miss for Apple, which has not missed consensus earnings in years."
NCR ( NCR) gets a $22 price target from Goldman analysts, a 30% premium. NCR shares are up 5.8% this year and 10.5% over the past 12 months, giving it a market value of $2.6 billion. The company is the largest global vendor of automated teller machines and point-of-sale terminals, as well as self-service check-out systems for retail stores, and self-check-in kiosks for airlines and hotels. In conjunction with the release of third-quarter earnings, the company raised its 2011 earnings forecast to $1.79 to $1.83 a share, up from $1.73 to $1.80 a share.
Qualcomm ( QCOM) earns a $65 price target, or a 19% premium, from Goldman analysts. They're currently trading at $53.76. The company develops and licenses wireless technology and manufactures semiconductors for mobile phones and has several key patents in the area. Its shares are up 6.5% this year and have an average annual return of 18% over three years.
Visa ( V) gets a $110 price target from Goldman analysts, a 21% premium to its current price. Visa, a well-known brand name, manages a group of global payment card brands, which it licenses to financial institutions that issue cards to their customers. The firm acts as the payment processor by facilitating the authorization, clearing and settlement of transactions. Visa shares are up 27% this year and have an average annual return of 22% over the past three years. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.B) made a notable investment in the company in the third quarter.