Forget Apple and Google. Ask portfolio managers for their top tech stock picks and you may get some less familiar names, such as Acxiom Corp. or Avnet Inc.

James C. Kieffer of Artisan Partners, Walter Price of Allianz RCM Technology Fund and Zachary Shafran of Waddell & Reed’s Ivy Funds were each asked to pick a stock they like. The three managers were on hand for the Morningstar Investor Conference in Chicago Friday.

Kieffer, a managing director at Artisan, says he likes Avnet and Arrow Electronics Inc. Both companies distribute electronic components.

Demand for their products will remain strong, the companies have good cash flow and their stocks are values, Kieffer says.

Shares of Arrow declined more than 10% this year as of midday Friday, while Avnet’s stock is down less than 1%.

Price, who is managing director, senior analyst and portfolio manager for RCM’s technology team, calls Samsung Electronics the best tech hardware company in the world. Samsung makes up almost 4% of Allianz RCM Technology’s assets.

Shafran picks Acxiom, an Arkansas-based company that mines and analyzes information about consumers who use the Internet. (The company was the subject of a recent New York Times story.) Shafran says he likes the new management of the company.

Acxiom’s stock is up almost 15% this year but the shares have lost almost half of their value in the past five years.

As for Apple, the stock is the top holding for tech funds overseen by all three money managers. Price says he’s excited about potential for iPhone 5, a product that has no release date as of yet. He also likes the “ecosystem” Apple has built around its products.

And Shafran says don’t count out Microsoft Corp. as executives at that company “have a real chance of reinventing themselves” through innovation.

Apple’s stock is up 43% this year, while Microsoft is up 17%.


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