In the old days of tech, there were four horsemen: Microsoft (MSFT), Intel (INTC), Dell, and Cisco (CSCO).
Three years ago, however, a new foursome had emerged: Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN).
There was an article last week on CNN Money asking who the current four horsemen are. It's a good question.
Usually, the four names that make the list are the ones in tech that have the biggest influence and get written about the most. On that score, it's hard to argue with the ones from three years ago.
Then again, you could select the names based on which stocks have performed best most recently. On that basis, I think the list would probably be Apple (coming back from its 2012 lows), Facebook (which has finally broken above the $80 level after being stuck there for a while), Netflix (NFLX) (which has been on a tear), and, maybe, still Amazon.
Note that these are all big-cap tech names.
But we shouldn't care about which names have performed best of late. As investors, we only care about which will be the biggest names going forward. So, what big-cap tech names are likeliest to perform the best over the next two years? Those names should really be the new four horsemen of tech.
My guess: Alibaba (BABA), Netflix, GoPro (GPRO), and Twitter (TWTR).
Alibaba is the biggest way to play the growth of the Chinese consumer over the next two years. Will there be a slew of other Chinese companies that benefit as well? Of course, but Alibaba will get its share and that will get reflected in its earnings and its stock price.
Netflix has been a runaway train upwards. That's true. But it's got a tremendous amount of upside left in its international growth potential and still has a lot of upside to capture in the U.S. as well
GoPro was one of those tech names that got feted up to huge heights right after its IPO and then tossed into the trash as insiders sold. But since its March lows, the stock has basically doubled. The love has come back and the products are as popular as ever.
Twitter still doesn't have a lot of clarity around it without a CEO. Chances are, though, that it will get a good new one and that it will continue to grow and develop. That likely means it will be a juice to earnings -- whether that includes an acquisition at some point or not.
And, of course, I haven't even mentioned the possibility of some unicorns that might IPO in the next year or so. I'd be most interested in names such as Airbnb and Uber if they're able to come to the market with reasonable valuations, which may be a longshot.