The Most Expensive Tech Stocks You Can Buy Today

Not long ago, titans like Amazon, Alphabet, and Tesla seemed almost unfathomably expensive with per-share prices over $2,000. However, recent stock splits have carved up these tech juggernauts into more accessible bites for regular investors.

But even after making mega-caps like Google cheaper to own, there remains an elite crop of tech stocks still pricing out smaller investors. Can companies like Booking Holdings justified towering $2,000+ price tags? Or do extremely extended valuations predict trouble on the horizon once growth slows?

This guide will analyze the top 10 priciest technology stocks that remain firmly out of reach for many investors even today. You’ll discover:

  • Key financial metrics like valuation ratios and growth rates
  • What makes each company uniquely valuable
  • Major risks and opportunities for investors

Read on to discover if any of these lofty tech disrupters deserve a spot in your stock portfolio.

What Impacts a Stock‘s Perceived Expensiveness

Before highlighting the tech sector’s most prohibitive names, let’s review why some stocks appear perpetually expensive:

1. Valuation Ratios

The most cited is the price/earnings ratio (P/E) – this compares a company’s market capitalization to underlying net income produced. Higher P/Es indicate investors are paying more per dollar of earnings generated.

2. Limited Float

This refers to the number of shares actually available to trade freely. A lower float means suppressed supply, enabling prices to vault higher.

3. Underlying Growth Prospects

The crème de le tech crop often commands premium valuations based on disruption potential years into the future. Investors eagerly pay today hoping for much larger profits tomorrow.

Let’s see how the top 10 shake out across these drivers of high costs:

CompanyShare PriceValuation (P/E)5 Yr Rev. Growth
Booking Holdings$2,10621x12%
ASML Holding$56929x26%
Broadcom Inc.$55915x32%
Roper Technologies$43831x11%
Lam Research Corp.$41912x30%
Intuit Inc.$39026x14%
KLA Corporation$37720x21%
Adobe Inc.$34026x21%
Synopsys Inc.$31832x16%

We see a mix of steadily growing old guards like Booking Holdings paired with ultra-high growth upstarts like ServiceNow that losses but compensate investors through cash flow production. Valuations range the gamut from moderately priced Adobe to over 97x earnings for red-hot ServiceNow.

Let‘s analyze the investment case for each in more depth:

1. Booking Holdings (BKNG) – The Globetrotter

  • Current Share Price: $2,106

Booking Holdings operates leading online travel agencies including, Priceline, and Kayak. It dominates the US market in particular, commanding an imposing 84% market share as of January 2023.

Beyond market leadership, Booking holds up with double-digit revenue growth and steady 20% net profit margins over the past 5 years. Yes, COVID severely hampered travel demand since 2020. But bookings and revenue bounced back swiftly in 2022 – the September 2022 quarter saw a 48% revenue jump versus 2019.

With analyst projecting sustained growth ahead and dominant market share locked down, investors appear confident paying up for this exceptionally stable cash cow.

Risks: Travel demand is intrinsically cyclical and tied closely to macroeconomic health. Prolonged recessions could hamper profit growth for years. New upstarts also pose threats – AirBnB has taken substantial share in alternative travel arrangements for example.

2. ASML Holding (ASML) – The Monopoly

This semiconductor equipment company wields immense power – ASML‘s lithography systems are viewed as indispensable technology for developing leading edge chips. From Intel to Samsung, the world‘s largest chipmakers rely on ASML‘s innovative machines.

And with a near monopoly in such mission-critical gear, ASML finds itself in an enviable competitive position. It sinks over $1 billion annually into R&D to retain dominance too – last year alone saw $1.7 billion plowed into next-generation EUV and DUV lithography systems.

Investors bid up ASML to premiums given this unique stranglehold. Still, 29x trailing earnings makes shares no bargain. Steady 25% revenue expansion and sustained demand for cutting edge chips seem to justify this pricing power however.

Risks: Any breakthroughs from competitors in lithography equipment could erode ASML‘s leadership. Larger chip producers may also develop proprietary systems to circumvent reliance in theorists. But such scenarios remain distant given ASML‘s entrenched position today.

3. Broadcom Inc. (AVGO) – The Acquirer

Broadcom‘s radio frequency chips enable everything from iPhones, factory automation, data centers solutions. But the real driver has been Broadcom‘s surging earnings from smart acquisitions. Buying Symantec, CA Technologies, and VMware has expanded Broadcom‘s enterprise software offerings substantially.

Investors cheer CEO Hock Tan‘s expertise in finding accretive deals. Estimated revenue growth stays a blistering 22% despite macro headwinds. Trading at just 15x forward earnings seems modest given execution.

Risks: Bad or overpriced acquisitions could destroy shareholder value quickly. Enterprise spending also fluctuates cyclically with business technology budgets. But with blue-chips like Apple accounting for ~25% of current sales, Broadcom still seems an attractive cash flow engine even at a $559 share price.

4. Roper Technologies (ROP)

Roper focuses on niche software for transportation, healthcare, food safety, and education. Sticky mandated solutions like freight tracking and hospital compliance optimize unglamorous yet essential services to juice profits. Customers dependent such software ensures reliable recurring revenue.

Past leadership and capital allocation also deserve credit for Roper‘s premium 31x earnings multiple. CEO Neil Hunn has finessed which technologies to invest in over his tenure. Investors thus trust in management‘s vision paying nearly $440 per share.

Risks: Lofty valuations could spell trouble if growth falters. Roper may struggle expanding into markets dominated by large cloud software vendors. Execution risks also follow any inconsistent M&A too.

5. Lam Research Corp. (LRCX)

Lam manufactures the etchers, deposition gear, and other fabrication systems chipmakers rely on. It counts Samsung, Intel, Micron, and TSMC among its loyal customers. As semiconductor capacity expands aggressively, equipment suppliers like Lam with best-in-class technology seem poised to benefit.

Trading around 12x forward earnings seems almost modest versus other semiconductor capital equipment vendors. However, that still earns Lam a spot with a share price above $400. With spending on next-gen fabs projected to double this decade, Lam‘s growth story remains compelling at these valuations.

Risks: Any pullbacks in fab investment would hamper sales immediately. Larger chipmakers also have leverage to negotiate pricing given Lam‘s customer concentration. Competitors like Applied Materials pose threats as well if their solutions progress quicker.

6. ServiceNow (NOW)

ServiceNow provides cloud solutions to help enterprise customers digitize workflows. Blue-chips like Goldman Sachs and Nokia pay ServiceNow handsomely to centralize operations from HR to IT service desks onto its platform.

With capabilities spanning such a wide spectrum, management sees $60 billion total addressable market for ServiceNow. Even marginally penetrating that spells tremendous runway, though profitability remains in question while it spends aggressively on expansion.

Ultimately, investors appear laser-focused on the hyper-growth story today, affording NOW an astronomical ~100x price/earnings ratio. But with revenue rising consistently above 30% annually, most seem satisfied with this software disruptor‘s progress building durable competitive advantages across multiple categories.

Risks: Incumbents like SAP and cloud titans pose threats as they bundle software suites with discounted pricing. And losses could persist for years negating any premium valuation if clients don‘t materialize. But for now, ServiceNow remains a darling likely to stay expensive until growth slows.

7. Intuit Inc. (INTU)

Intuit‘s TurboTax and QuickBooks command their categories, throwing off billions in mostly recurring software revenues. Cloud migration has reaccelerated growth too – online ecosystems enable more cross-selling opportunities to expand wallet share among Intuit‘s existing 60 million customers.

While incumbency garners a moderate 26x P/E ratio, Intuit trades at premiums given certainty of cash flows. Slowing growth has capped excessive valuations, but analysts still believe operating margins sustainably above 30% justify its steady $390 per share pricing.

Risks: Tax policy changes or simplified government returns could render TurboTax less essential over time. Small businesses also face mounting economic uncertainty nearing potential recession.

8. KLA Corporation (KLAC)

KLAC builds inspection gear enabling chipmakers like Intel, Samsung and TSMC to catch manufacturing defects early on. This niche has proven wildly profitable for KLA – 31% operating margins with revenue hitting an all-time record $3 billion last quarter. Secular demand trends bode well too as chips grow perpetually more complex.

With firmer footing than pure-play foundries, investors are comfortable assigning KLAC a modest 20x earnings premium. Considering this cash generation runway, KLA offers intriguing semiconductor exposure without the extreme valuations found elsewhere.

Risks: Any downturn in fab investment would hamper tooling sales immediately. Heavy customer concentration among a handful of major foundries adds risks should orders slow from any one. But KLA‘s specialized capabilities protect its positioning – the complexity driving demand cannot be solved easily by competitors.

9. Adobe Inc. (ADBE)

Creative tools like Photoshop, Premiere Pro, and Illustrator dominate their fields for good reason – meticulous development honing performance for 25+ years cements Adobe as the industry standard. Transitioning these desktop apps to cloud-based subscription access has stabilized growth by reducing piracy.

Profits remain enviable as well – 40%+ operating margins owing to software‘s low distribution costs. While hardly cheap at 26x forward earnings, Adobe deserves its premium following years of 20%+ revenue growth and cash generation.

Risks: Platforms like Shopify, Wix, and WordPress threaten with templated site builders requiring little design skill, limiting professional creative software demand. But Adobe‘s deep roots across numerous functions make it difficult to displace for skilled creators. Barring economic impacts lowering subscriptions, this stalwart should compound gains for years.

10. Synopsys Inc. (SNPS)

Though under the radar, Synopsys provides electronic design automation (EDA) software indispensable for chipmakers. Its solutions allow simulated testing of semiconductor designs before expensive fabrication. As chips grow radically more complex, failure proving out physical hardware gets costly quickly.

EDA may lack pizazz, but Synopsys‘s tools suggest sturdy profits ahead. With TSMC, Intel, Broadcom as anchor clients and high 90%+ renewal rates, Synopsys grows revenue 17% annually like clockwork. Trading 32x earnings seems reasonable given consistency, even if technological disruption appears unlikely in this niche.

Risks: Electronic design automation stays a fairly concentrated space. Larger players could feasibly develop proprietary tools squeezing margins if Synopsys technology stagnates. For now however, its sticky tooling generates ample cash to keep innovating – and expensive for most investors.

Final Thoughts on Expensive Tech Stocks

While top-shelf prices above $300 undoubtedly limit accessibility for many investors, share prices alone shouldn‘t dictate decisions. The crux lies in understanding each company‘s financial fundamentals and long-term opportunities.

Fantastic growth prospects alongside durable competitive edges support lofty valuations in most names we‘ve covered. Yet risks abound too – prices discount so much future success that stumbles for even one year could mean sizable retractions.

Ultimately for those with sufficient capital and appropriate risk tolerance, a small allocation to elite leaders trading at reasonable earnings multiples makes sense. Going "all-in" remains too speculative given the premium prices however.

Instead, balance seems prudent: gain exposure to future shifts these innovators may unlock while avoiding overconcentration. Their towering share prices today could split later on just as Amazon and Alphabet eventually did, opening the floodgates to more populace ownership.

In the meantime, keep an eye on these selective disruptors. Their expensive reach for the sky drags smaller investors along for the ride too thanks simply to the power of imagination.

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