3 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Stocks to Buy in May – The Motley Fool

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Sell in May and go away? No way!
May is here, so we are quickly approaching the year’s halfway point. Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to be a hot theme, though some stocks have cooled as volatility sets in. A famous Wall Street saying is “Sell in May and go away.
But I’m not having that. In fact, some attractive AI stocks are ripe for the picking — you just need to know where to look.
Here are three top AI stocks investors should consider scooping up this month.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is a beautiful chart to talk about enterprise software company Salesforce (CRM -2.25%):
CRM Operating Margin (TTM) Chart
CRM operating margin (TTM) data by YCharts; TTM = trailing 12 months.
The software provider has significantly improved its operating margins and free-cash-flow generation over the past couple of years, giving the stock a head of steam heading into first-quarter earnings in the coming weeks.
Most know Salesforce for its flagship customer relationship management (CRM) services, but the company has also built an ecosystem through innovation and acquisitions, becoming a one-stop shop that companies can use to track customers and sales, operations, and marketing, and stoke employee collaboration.
The company unveiled Einstein AI, a generative AI assistant to help users get the most out of its product ecosystem.
Salesforce trades at a lofty but well-deserved forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 28. That’s a steep price tag but one that’s justified by the company’s improving cash flow and margins.
Analysts have the company growing earnings by an annual average of more than 17% over the next several years, which makes 28 times forward earnings a fair price for this proven winner.
Management has begun repurchasing its stock to lower the share count and help boost earnings growth. I expect this to continue as cash flow grows, giving the stock a high floor that investors can depend on at a reasonable price today.
Most hear “AI is replacing humans” and think of robots from the movies. The reality could be more software-based. That’s UiPath‘s (PATH -0.32%) specialty as an expert in robotic process automation (RPA), which involves software learning and performing repetitive computer tasks instead of humans.
The financial benefits of RPA are obvious for corporations: Software bots don’t need breaks or benefits, and they are less prone to mistakes.
Nearly 11,000 customers are using UiPath today. They often started out with a small trial run, which then blossomed into full-scale implementation as the software proved useful. That’s the secret behind the company’s robust 119% dollar-based net revenue retention rate.
PATH Revenue (TTM) Chart
PATH revenue (TTM) data by YCharts.
You can see that the business has grown large enough that cash flow is surging, and bottom-line profits are starting to follow suit. Analysts are pegging UiPath for annual earnings growth averaging 22% over the next three to five years. Shares trade at a forward P/E ratio of 34 today, making UiPath a potential bargain for long-term investors.
Over the past year, this stock has become a sensation, flying higher as people picked Super Micro Computer (SMCI 4.31%) to provide their turnkey server systems for AI applications. The ride has been volatile at times. While shares change hands at $800 today, the stock has traded as high as $1,200 and as low as $130 over the past year. So, what should we make of this vast range? Pay attention to the fundamentals.
Fortunately for bullish investors, Super Micro Computer is growing like a weed. Revenue increases have accelerated to triple-digit rates in the AI age. Management attributes this to AI tailwinds and the fact that customers are overwhelmingly choosing Super Micro Computer over competitors, leading to above-industry growth.
SMCI Revenue (Quarterly YoY Growth) Chart
SMCI revenue (quarterly YoY growth) data by YChart; YoY = year over year.
The numbers say shares are a table-pounding buy right now. Analysts are looking for earnings growth averaging 52% annually for the next several years, while the stock’s forward P/E is “just” 35 today. If those growth numbers prove accurate, the stock will be a mind-numbing bargain in hindsight.
Remember that volatility is rampant with this stock, which fell nearly 20% recently because the company chose not to pre-announce earnings. Investors who are bullish on Super Micro Computer might want to approach cautiously and buy the stock slowly so they don’t get caught up in the noise. Otherwise, this stock looks ripe for value-focused growth investors.
Justin Pope has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Salesforce and UiPath. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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