3 Tech Dividend Stocks Set To Rise?

Reuben is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Russ Koesterich, BlackRock's chief investment strategist, believes that technology stocks offer good long-term value. To find investment ideas in the sector, I reviewed the latest semi-annual report for BlackRock Global Dividend Income Fund. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE: TSM), and Canon (NYSE: CAJ) were the only names that made the grade.

Dividend Ideas

Koesterich believes investors have been pushing up the prices of defensive names for so long that they are now ready to move back to other options. He suggests that the growth-oriented technology sector has appeal based on this change in sentiment. My dividend preference led me to BlackRock Global Dividend Income Fund. Interestingly, it was light on the tech side. That makes the three companies that did make it into the portfolio all the more interesting.

Rebuilding in Mobile

Microsoft was once at the forefront of the personal computer market, but largely missed the mobile market that now drives the industry. Microsoft software, however, still powers the machines on the other side of the mobile devices making the headlines, so it's still profiting in part from their success. It also has other core businesses in gaming and software.

Microsoft's problem lies more with its image than its revenue. In fact, aside from a one-year drop during the 2007-2009 recession, the company's top line has been headed steadily higher for a decade.

Still, Microsoft needs to be better-positioned in the mobile space if it wants to keep growing. So management has spent heavily on new operating systems (OS), including partnering with Nokia on the Lumia phone and the launch of Windows 8 for PCs. Its new desktop and mobile operating systems look remarkably alike.

If Microsoft can get its core customers accustomed to that OS interface, it has the potential to gain ground in the mobile world. That's probably less of a long shot than it sounds. With a recent yield of around 3% and a dividend that's been increased yearly for a decade, Microsoft's paying investors to wait while it figures out the mobile world.

A Chip Foundry Branches Out

Taiwan Semiconductor, founded in 1987, makes chips, but doesn't design them. It is an industry leader in the chip foundry space, owning or controling 14 facilities.

Taiwan Semiconductor has also been branching out into lighting and solar energy. Moving beyond its core business isn't without risks, but these two new industries are increasingly chip-based. If management pulls off the move, its shares could enjoy notable upside. At the very least, the revenue from these two areas could offset the often cyclical nature of the chip business.

Taiwan Semiconductor's top line has been steadily heading higher after a large revenue decline in 2009. Earnings, though volatile, are soundly in the black. Even in 2009, the company remained solidly profitable. In 2012, a generally weak year for the industry, Taiwan Semi was able to earn over $1.10 a share.

With a yield of around 2%, income investors probably won't get too excited. However, this company's an industry leader making increasingly important products. And it's reaching into related industries. That could be a recipe for solid long-term returns.

Currency Problems

Canon is a leader in the printer, copier, and camera markets. The printer and copier spaces are likely to provide cash-cow like revenues for years to come despite industry weakness. Canon supplies key parts to other manufacturers in these spaces, too, which further strengthens its position. It's also getting into the printing services space, which has solid long-term potential.

Photo gear, meanwhile, is an interesting and somewhat sticky niche, since lenses and cameras are costly and can't be easily interchanged between brands.

Canon's bigger problem is currency-related. A Japanese company with material manufacturing facilities in its home market, Canon has dealt with two decades of economic malaise and government tinkering. Exchange-rate volatility is the norm, not the exception. With around 80% of its business coming from foreign markets, that makes revenues and earnings a moving target.

However, the stock recently yielded more than 4%. Aggressive investors willing to ride out the volatility should find this an interesting income opportunity. Just keep in mind that Canon's dividend fluctuates from year to year.

Tech Dividends

Only dividend-paying technology companies made it into BlackRock Global Dividend Income Fund. They are, at the very least, worth a quick review. Of the trio, Microsoft is the most conservative option, though Taiwan Semi has an interesting catalyst for future performance if its expansion efforts are successful.

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Reuben Brewer has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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