15 Apple-Like Stocks That Could Bear Similar Fruit (Update1)

(Story updated to add that Piper Jaffray initiated coverage of VMware with an "overweight" rating and a $125 price target.)

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Everybody wants to pick the next Apple ( AAPL), the maker of the iPad and iPhone, which has seen its shares climb 55% this year, five times that of the S&P 500.

A cumulative stock-price gain of 474% in the past three years has resulted in a world-leading market value of $585 billion, and it makes up 4.5% of the S&P 500. That means Apple is a deceptively large part of many investment portfolios.

And therein lies the rub. Many investment funds aren't allowed to own more than 5% of an individual stock due to concentration concerns, even if the weight in their benchmark is larger.

But given Apple's rapid growth, "the stock is simply exceeding ownership limits for many funds and, as a result, investors are asking where the next Apple is," JPMorgan ( JPM) said in a research note titled "Circle of Life."

So, with that in mind, the investment firm set its 11 technology analysts to work to come up with a list of technology, media and telecommunications stocks that appear to have the most potential to become the next Apple.

But, of course, Apple's special qualities, such as its virtually seamless blending of one generation of products to another and their ease of use, have resulted in an almost cult-like customer following that is impossible to emulate. Not to mention that its revenue has grown at a 57% compound annual growth rate since 2010.

>>6 Tech Stocks That Rate Better Than Apple

But the analysts boiled down its success formula to seven key points that "Apple-like" companies must have. They are: products that inspire a following; corporate and product reputational excellence; lifestyle products that focus on what one can do with their services/products; a company culture of success; the potential for prodigious growth; current attractive valuations; and, finally, the ability to return capital to shareholders.

They also screened their research using "qualitative and quantitative metrics" along with those standards to come up with a list of 15 stocks "that our analysts view as having secular growth opportunities, a strong market position and attractive valuation, which make these equities attractive to own as the potential next 'Apple,' " JPMorgan said.

With the caveat that "these companies are at different stages of their maturity," here are JPMorgan's list of 15 Apple-like stocks ranked in inverse order of the number of analyst "buy" ratings they have, per an independent Standard & Poor's survey:

15. LinkedIn ( LNKD)

Company profile: LinkedIn, with a market value of $11 billion, is the largest social networking company on the Internet with 100 million member-users. It has more than $500 million in cash on its balance sheet, so expansion into other areas is possible. JPMorgan analysts say: "LinkedIn has strong network effects driven by social dynamics and Internet trends. (It) has established itself as the leading career network."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 55% since its IPO in May 2011. Analysts give its shares three "buy" ratings, eight "buy/holds," nine "holds," and one "weak hold," according to a survey of analysts by S&P.

14. Ansys ( ANSS)

Company profile: Ansys, with a market value of $6 billion, develops, markets and supports software solutions for design analysis and optimization. JPMorgan says: "The company is trying to change how products are designed fundamentally. Instead of starting with a drawing, just outline the parameters of what you want the part/product to do and let the software solve for the design."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 10% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 32%. Analysts give its shares four "buy" ratings, one "buy/hold," and nine "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. S&P has it rated "hold" on a valuation basis but says the company's "software license revenue growth will average in the mid- to high teens (in terms of percentages) over the next couple of years."

13. Tibco Software ( TIBX)

Company profile: Tibco, with a market value of $6 billion, provides business integration, process management and business optimization software that enables interoperability between applications and systems. JPMorgan says the company's IT services "were built for the future in mind more than 10 years ago. The future has caught up with Tibco."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 35% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 72%. Analysts give its shares four "buy" ratings, one "buy/hold," and nine "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. Analysts estimate it will earn $1.18 per share this year and that will grow by 16% to $1.37 per share in 2013.

12. Trimble Navigation ( TRMB)

Company profile: Trimble, with a market value of $6.6 billion, makes satellite-based navigation, positioning and communication data devices. JPMorgan says the company "should be able to post growth for many years to come."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 22% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 46%. Analysts give its shares five "buy" ratings, four "buy/holds," and four "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. For fiscal 2012, analysts estimate it will earn $2.48 per share and that will grow by 18% to $2.93 per share in 2013.

11. Qlik Technologies ( QLIK)

Company profile: Qlik, with a market value of $2.6 billion, is a provider of business intelligence software, in particular, the company's software platform, QlikView, which employs analytics and search functionality. JPMorgan says it has "a 'new' approach to the age-old problem of analytics, and it does it through the unique leveraging of recent advances in computing technology."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 25% this year. Analysts give its shares seven "buy" ratings, five "buy/holds," five "holds," and one "sell," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. Analysts estimate it will earn 41 cents per share this year and 57 cents in 2013.

10. Intuit ( INTU)

Company profile: Intuit, with a market value of $17 billion, develops and markets small-business accounting and management, tax preparation and personal finance software. JPMorgan says "TurboTax and QuickBooks have a very loyal following. Once on them, it is a community."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 15% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 31%. Analysts give its shares 10 "buy" ratings, four "buy/holds," eight "holds," and one "weak hold," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. Analysts estimate it will earn $2.96 per share in 2012, and $3.35 per share next year, a 13% gain.

9. Accenture ( ACN)

Company profile: Accenture, with a market value of $42 billion, is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company based in Ireland. JPMorgan says the company is "a pure-play consulting company" with a partnership model that has resulted in its many senior partners owning a big stake in its success.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 21% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 34%. Analysts give its shares 10 "buy" ratings, five "buy/holds," and nine "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. S&P, which has it rated "buy," says "we see revenue growth of about 11% (this year) on rising demand from clients for cost containment initiatives."

8. Walt Disney ( DIS)

Company profile: Walt Disney, with a market value of $74 billion, is a media and entertainment conglomerate with diversified global operations in theme parks, cruise lines, filmed entertainment, television broadcasting and merchandise licensing. Media networks make up 46% of revenues and 70% of operating earnings and include the ABC broadcast network; 10 TV stations; and cable networks ESPN (80%-owned), The Disney Channel and ABC Family. JPMorgan says Disney "has unrivaled customer loyalty given its theme parks, movies/characters (animated classics, Pixar) and ESPN."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 20% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 29%. Analysts give its shares 11 "buy" ratings, nine "buy/holds," and 12 "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. Analysts expect it to earn $2.95 per share this year and $3.40 in 2013.

7. Cree ( CREE)

Company profile: Cree, with a market value of $3.6 billion, develops and manufactures semiconductor materials and devices based on silicon carbide, gallium nitride and related compounds. Its lead products are light-emitting diode chips, components and lighting solutions used in everything from streetlights to computers. JPMorgan says Cree will be "a significant benefactor of the adoption of LED-based lighting technology."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 42% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 5%. Analysts give its shares 12 "buy" ratings, eight "buy/holds," seven "holds," two "weak holds" and two "sells" according to a survey of analysts by S&P.

6. NetApp ( NTAP)

Company profile: NetApp, with a market value of $16 billion, is a provider of storage hardware, software and services to a variety of enterprise customers. JPMorgan analysts say it "is another company developing its own unique legion of loyal customers and partners" because of its "singular operating system with a common dashboard of storage systems management features, which earn high marks from customers we speak to in the field."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 13% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 34%. Analysts give its shares 12 "buy" ratings, six "buy/holds," 16 "holds," and one "weak hold," according to a survey of analysts by S&P.

5. Comcast ( CMCSA)

Company profile: Comcast, with a market value of $78 billion, merged with NBC Universal last year and the combination is a media and entertainment conglomerate that has diversified interests in cable, broadcasting, film and theme parks. JPMorgan says: "Comcast has 22 million video subscribers of which almost 11 million take advanced services. The company has an excellent service record and is continuously trying to improve."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 23% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 27%. Analysts give its shares 15 "buy" ratings, eight "buy/holds," and seven "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P.

4. VMware ( VMW)

Company profile: VMware, with a market value of $32 billion and a subsidiary of EMC Corp. ( EMC), is a supplier of virtualization software and services for use in information-technology infrastructure. JPMorgan says "VMware is growing significantly, and is spending in order to capture a material market in front of it, but it still has close to a 40% free cash flow margin."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 29% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 53%. Analysts give its shares 15 "buy" ratings, 10 "buy/holds," 15 "holds," and one "sell," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. For fiscal year 2012, analysts estimate it will earn $2.55 per share and that will grow by 20% to $3.05 in 2013.

PiperJaffray initiated coverage of VMware today with an "overweight" rating and a $125 price target, a 13% premium to the current price. It said: "We believe VMware's market leadership and technological superiority will provide it with a competitive advantage for the next several years and thwart any threats to its dominant position."

3. Amazon ( AMZN)

Company profile: Amazon, with a market value of $85 billion, is the highest-grossing online retailer in the world with $48 billion in sales in 2011, which is about 10% of the global e-commerce market. JPMorgan says it has been able to "win customer loyalty. The company's focus on price, selection and convenience has enabled it to cut through a very crowded physical retail and e-commerce space to earn repeat customers."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 8.6% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 33%. Analysts give its shares 18 "buy" ratings, six "buy/holds," and 17 "holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. S&P analysts say that "long term, we expect (its) initiatives to result in continued strong sales results and significant margin expansion, as it leverages its leading brand name and position as an Internet retailer."

2. Qualcomm ( QCOM)

Company profile: Qualcomm, with a market value of $113 billion, is a developer of products and services based on its advanced wireless broadband technology. JPMorgan says "there is a huge amount of growth still to go in smartphones, and (the company) is very well tied to that."

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 22% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 18%. Analysts give its shares 21 "buy" ratings, 16 "buy/holds," six "holds," one "weak hold," and one "sell," according to a survey of analysts by S&P.

1. Broadcom ( BRCM)

Company profile: Broadcom, with a market value of $20 billion, designs and sells digital semiconductors that integrate several communications standards, such as Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi, into a single chip. In February, it completed its $3.7 billion acquisition of NetLogic Microsystems. Later that month, the company announced the SEC is investigating its accounting practices related to its litigation reserves.

JPMorgan says Broadcom is "now the No. 1 supplier of mobile-connectivity solutions to the smartphone and tablet markets (70%-plus market share)" and its integrated solution has a tremendous lead over its nearest competitors.

Investor takeaway: Its shares are up 25% this year and have a three-year, average annual return of 17%. Analysts give its shares 22 "buy" ratings, 11 "buy/holds," nine "holds," and three "weak holds," according to a survey of analysts by S&P. For fiscal 2012, analysts estimate it will earn $2.84 per share and that that will grow by 9% to $3.10 per share next year.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 15 Apple-Like Stocks portfolio on Stockpickr.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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