Three innovative tech stocks to buy now

Investors should look to the tech sector for fast-pace growth. Professional stockpicker Walter Price tips three tech stocks to buy now.

Each week, a professional investor tells MoneyWeek where he'd put his money now. This week:Walter Price, co-manager, Allianz Technology Trust.

In a low-growth world, firms that can generate rapid growth in defiance of the economic climate are rightly prized. Nowhere is thismore evident than in the technology sector. Every part of our modern economy dependson technology to improve quality or productivity, maintain competitiveness, or spur expansion.

Technology has also matured as a sector. In its infancy, it was seen as highly sensitive to the health of the global economy. When people and firms felt flush, they spent on technology. When times were hard, they reined their spending in.

This has changed. Technology is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, and technology investing extends far beyond the likes of Facebook and Amazon. It now incorporates a range of sectors, each with different characteristics. Some will be very sensitive to the economy; others will be utility-like in the returns they provide. Blending these different companies can be a good way to harness growth opportunities, while mitigating the risks.

The one thing uniting all tech companiestoday is the need to innovate. Innovationalone helps companies create or capture market share. Just now, we are seeing a wave of innovation in the sector that could produce attractive returns for the best companies in each field. We also see several companies with valuations that do not in our view yet fully reflect positive trends for the company itself, or for the industry.

One of our favoured stocks just now isApple (Nasdaq: AAPL). The leading consumer electronics company is our largest holding, with its impressive line of personal computers, software, mobile communications devices and networking solutions. The resurgence of Apple was one of the biggest stories of 2014 and the new product cycle has been extremely strong.

Apple also seems to be gaining market share from other manufacturers, and the company's large cash position gives it substantial control over shareholder returns.

Another company we like is Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM). The group provides on-demand customer-relationship management services, as well as service and marketing solutions to businesses of all sizes and industries worldwide. Salesforce.com also offers a cloud computing platform on which customers and developers can build applications.

Cloud computing is an area that we think is particularly interesting at the moment, offering secular (long-term) growth within the technology industry. We believe that Salesforce.com is going to be a long-term market-share winner, as it benefits from the ongoing shift to on-demand software and development systems.

Finally, Palo Alto Networks (NYSE: PANW) provides cybersecurity. The company offers firewalls that identify and controlapplications, scan content to stop threats, and prevent data leakage. We believe it offers the best products in what is a rapidly growing area of technology.

Security is proving to be a major investment theme this year, as companies are still only in the early stages of adjusting to the various threats presented by a new, more sophisticated breed of hacker. We think this trend will persist for several years, and companies such as Palo Alto Networks, which continue to enhance security technology, stand to benefit over time.

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