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Must-See AI Stocks: 3 You Can’t Miss | The Motley Fool

It might seem as though the artificial intelligence (AI) investing hype has already come and gone with the mania surrounding OpenAI’s ChatGPT, but large language models are just the latest iteration of ways that AI impacts the world. There were AI advancements before last November’s ChatGPT unveiling, and there are sure to be plenty of additional AI advancements in the years ahead.

For instance, consider all the use cases for AI that remain in their early stages: AI-enabled healthcare breakthroughs, vastly improved weather and climate change forecasting, AI-led education initiatives, and next-level autonomous vehicles. And those are just a few examples.

AI applications are expected to change the world in countless ways, and there will be plenty of great investment opportunities as a result. Three Motley Fool contributors were asked to offer details on three stocks — UiPath (PATH 0.93%), Snowflake (*3*)(SNOW -1.10%), and Synopsys (SNPS -0.38%) — that you might want to consider taking advantage of today.

Hands holding a smartphone with AI app emerging from it.

Image source: Getty Images.

UiPath has plans to automate many workplace tasks

Jake Lerch (UiPath): One thing about AI should be immediately apparent: It’s great at managing rote, repetitive tasks efficiently. UiPath hopes to take advantage of that fact. The company focuses on a process called robotic process automation (RPA). UiPath has generative and specialized AI solutions that help organizations improve their efficiency through RPA, which is all the more important given the rising cost of labor.

In a nutshell, RPA is a technique where AI is trained on a procedure that requires discrete steps. For example, consider the onboarding process for a new employee at a major corporation. For anyone who’s ever done it, the process can be a long, tiring slog of tech support tickets, emails, and phone calls to HR. Yet through RPA, human involvement could be greatly reduced or even eliminated, freeing up workers and their time for other tasks.

Financially, UiPath remains early in its business life cycle, and as such, it is firmly focused on growth. In its most recent quarter (the three months ending on July 31), revenue increased 19% year over year. Trailing-12-month revenue climbed to $1.2 billion. And while the company is not yet profitable, it has generated over $290 million in free cash flow and has no net debt.

As already mentioned, AI is just getting started in these areas and it could take years — probably decades — for RPA to reach its full potential. Given its leadership within the RPA industry, UiPath is a smart choice for long-term investors who believe in AI’s ability to drive efficiency gains in the workplace.

Warren Buffett’s team recognized the potential of this data cloud stock early

Will Healy (Snowflake): AI investors should not turn a cold shoulder to Snowflake. The company not only provides organizations with a data cloud, but it also makes the data cloud interoperable across diverse cloud platforms. That saves entities from having to store data on individual servers, which can lead to multiple versions and questions of data integrity when it needs constant updating.

Data clouds give businesses a cloud-based location to store and secure data. This allows instant access to AI and machine learning (ML) workflows on an engine capable of fast processing. Through this platform, organizations can unify teams around data.

Moreover, Snowflake has focused on bringing generative AI to the data cloud through acquisitions. It added Neeva and Applica to the Snowflake ecosystem to enhance AI-driven search and sorting capabilities. Additionally, it bought Streamlit to give developers the capability to experiment with and build large language model (LLM) applications.

Snowflake’s value proposition attracted a pre-IPO investment of more than 6.1 million shares from Warren Buffett’s team at Berkshire Hathaway, and its revenue growth may be keeping Berkshire in this stock. In the first six months of fiscal 2024 (ended July 31), revenue of $1.3 billion surged 41% versus the year-ago period.

Snowflake ran a $559 million operating loss for the year’s first half. That includes $602 million in stock-based compensation, indicating it would operate at a profit were it not for that one cost.

Nonetheless, its $452 million net loss in that period is significantly above the $389 million it lost in the first half of fiscal 2023. With stock-based compensation likely to remain a factor, investors should expect losses to continue for the foreseeable future.

The losses may also explain why the cloud stock has been rangebound for the last year and a half. Additionally, its price-to-sales (P/S) ratio of 21 may deter some investors.

Still, that sales multiple is near all-time lows for Snowflake. Assuming the rapid revenue growth continues, it will probably place downward pressure on the P/S ratio, likely taking the stock higher over time as it moves closer to profitability. As AI enhances its data cloud software, Snowflake could be very rewarding for investors over time.

Don’t overlook this crucial player in the AI space

Justin Pope (Synopsys): Computer chips are the building blocks of technology, including AI. These chips have billions of little switches, called transistors, that must be carefully arranged to work correctly. In other words, chips are highly complex to design and build.

Synopsys sells software, intellectual property, and testing tools to help chip engineers design, test, and build chips securely and efficiently. You can think of it as giving a carpenter power tools to build a house versus just a hammer and nails. Synopsys makes life much easier for chip companies.

Fundamentally, Synopsys is a rock-solid business. It generated $5.5 billion over the trailing 12 months and converted 29% of that to free cash flow. The company has $1.7 billion on its balance sheet against almost no debt (just $18 million). Analysts believe Synopsys will grow earnings by more than 17% annually.

The stock is up nearly 70% over the past year, hardly a surprise given Wall Street’s current obsession with AI. Shares now trade at a forward P/E of 44, a little expensive for a business growing profits at a mid-teens rate.

But strong financials and plentiful long-term opportunities could justify building a position in Synopsys. Rapid advancement in AI technology over the coming decade will demand constant innovation in chip design. Consider adding the stock slowly and getting more aggressive if shares slide to a more digestible valuation over the coming quarters.

Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama
Leah Sirama, a lifelong enthusiast of Artificial Intelligence, has been exploring technology and the digital realm since childhood. Known for his creative thinking, he's dedicated to improving AI experiences for all, making him a respected figure in the field. His passion, curiosity, and creativity drive advancements in the AI world.


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