Stock market

4 Tech Innovators in the FTSE 350

Even in this fast-paced world of ours, the past 12 months have been notable for significant evolution in the field of technology. However, it’s not just NASDAQ that is home to leading innovators! Brits can look closer to home between the Footsy and FTSE 250…


What it does: Halma is a life-saving technology company committed to developing a safer, cleaner and healthier future.

By Paul Summers. I’d rather buy stock from a tech innovator whose products are necessary than desirable. FTSE 100 member Halma (LSE: HLMA) fits the bill nicely.

A group of approximately 45 companies, Halma develops industrial and logistics operations, environmental monitoring and protection and security technologies to enhance the quality of care delivered by healthcare providers.

I don’t know about you but I just can’t see the demand for them going away. So I fully expect the company to continue to increase its dividend by 5% or more every year for the foreseeable future, as it has done for the past 44 years!

The downside to all of this is that Halma stock never trades at a low earnings multiple. That said, I think the ongoing (but perhaps temporary) distaste for growth-focused companies among UK investors gives me as good a chance as any to get involved.

Paul Summers has no status in Halma.


What it does: RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision-making tools for professional and business users.

By Andrew Mackie. My stocks and shares ISA is relatively small in the tech sector. This is mostly due to rich pricing across the board. However, I invest in tech businesses where I see a clear competitive advantage. RELX (LSE: REL) is one such tech innovator.

Its powerful datasets in risk, legal and insurance are continuously upgraded with AI tools. Launched last October, Lexis + AI will be a game changer for the legal profession. The solution offers interactive search, intelligent legal drafting, insightful summaries, and document upload and analysis capabilities.

Its risk division is another area poised for explosive growth in the coming decade. Financial crime compliance and digital fraud are two such areas. But equally important is the risk of insurance. Its proprietary data analytics and decision-making tools enable insurance businesses to optimize their offering across the value chain.

RELX is not a cheap stock, with a price-to-earnings ratio of more than 36. But as an investor who takes a long-term view, I remain bullish on its prospects.

Andrew Mackey owns shares in RELX.


What it does: RELX is a global provider of information and data analytics for customers in the scientific, medical and legal professions.

By Ben McPoland. FTSE 100 Data firm RELX (LSE: REL) is fully embracing the huge potential of the new technology and has already rolled out generative AI in its LexisNexis legal business.

This Lexis+ AI solution includes conversational search, intelligent legal drafting and summarizing, and document uploading and analysis capabilities. Since it is based on RELX’s vast collection of legal information, the risk of invented content (fraud) is greatly reduced.

CFO Nick Lough said that this AI tool is already being created.Significant performance benefits, whether summarizing documents, conducting research, legal research or drafting court submissions

Last year, the firm’s adjusted operating profit rose 13% to £3.03bn on revenue of £9.16bn (up 8%). And this year the company launched a conversational AI product in its scientific, technical and clinical unit, which will help clinicians deliver high-quality patient care.

The stock isn’t cheap trading at 27 times forward earnings, which potentially increases valuation risk.

However, given the fact that generative AI is poised to underpin RELX’s business model, I think this innovative FTSE firm deserves a premium valuation.

Ben McPoland does not own shares in RELX.

S4 Capital

What it does: S4 Capital is a digital media advertising agency network based in the UK, operating worldwide.

By Christopher Rowan. I own shares S4 Capital (LSE: SFOR) I have lost a lot of papers. Directors hold a large chunk of the shares but have largely not been buying recently despite the share price falling by almost two-thirds over the past year.

Even so, I see the S4 as a tech innovator. Its digital-only model in the largely global advertising industry means it’s designed for how the marketing world looks now, rather than in the past.

So why are shares falling?

Past accounting delays have shaken the city’s confidence in the company’s management, although it has made positive progress in that direction. The company is in loss. It has added debt to its balance sheet in recent years.

Clearly, there are risks in this stock. But I expect debt to come down and cost containment to help the company move to profitability. His assessment seems likely to be cheap and I maintain it.

Christopher Rooney owns a stake in S4 Capital.

The Sage Group

What it does: Sage Group primarily provides integrated accounting, payroll and human resources services to small and medium-sized companies.

By Royston Wilde. Over the past 43 years, The Sage Group (LSE:SGE) has steadily developed its services to become one of the world’s top five enterprise resource planning (ERP) providers.

gave FTSE 100 The firm’s bread and butter is the provision of accounting and payroll software. And now it is investing heavily in artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the functionality of its cloud-based services.

It launched recently. Sage Network Inbox And Sage Copilot, the first tools in the company’s stable to use generative AI. Chief executive Steve Hare predicts that machine thinking will “Change natureof accounting, and the firm is trying to position itself at the forefront of this revolution.

Sage’s share price has risen over the past 12 months. And that leaves it trading at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio north of 35 bars.

Such high multiples are common in tech stocks. But remember that even a bullish number like Sage’s is more likely to cause a price correction if it’s accompanied by bad news that scares the market.

Royston Wild does not own shares in Sage Group.

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