Best Innovative Companies to Own: 2022 Edition

These companies are expected to benefit from disruptive technologies.

Sachin Nagarajan 27 January, 2022 | 4:28AM
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Editor’s Note: This article is based on the 2022 edition of Morningstar's Best Companies to Own. Find the full list of companies and read about our selection methodology.

“Disruptive innovation” can conjure up images of flying cars, light sabers, or a brave new world. But these technologies may not be as far off as they seem.

Tech companies are using disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence to analyze large, complex data sets. Research and development in the healthcare industry has created life-saving drug therapies and treatments. And climate change is forcing energy and utilities companies to focus on renewable energy.

Investing in such disruptive innovation can be tricky, says Dave Sekera, Morningstar Research Services’ chief U.S. market strategist.

“Because disruptive technology is such a broad, wide-reaching concept, it is difficult to … identify companies that fall within the group.”

The Morningstar Exponential Technologies Index holds 200 stocks that Morningstar Research Services’ analysts expect to experience significant economic benefits from using or producing a new technology. The companies covered in this index touch on any combination of nine themes: big data and analytics, bioinformatics, energy and environmental systems, financial services, medicine and neuroscience, nanotechnology, networks and computer systems, robotics, and 3D printing. (Explore more about each theme in the index’s rulebook.)

But which of these companies, representing these nine emerging themes, have the competitive advantages and management teams to thrive?

Here are the 21 companies in the Morningstar Technologies Index that also made our list of best companies to own in 2022.

List of companies

Let’s take a closer look at what Morningstar Research Services’ analyst thinks of Analog Devices ADI, which is exposed to seven of the nine themes, the most of any company on our best innovative companies list.

Analog Devices ADI

Themes: Nano technology, hyperconnectivity, energy transition, healthcare innovation, robotics, next-generation transportation, and cloud computing.

“Analog Devices is one of the world's largest analog chipmakers, with an especially strong position in analog signal processing chips. We think it is well positioned to profit from more advanced and higher-priced semiconductor content in automobiles, 5G wireless networking equipment, and industrial applications like medical devices and factory automation equipment in the years ahead.

“Analog chips are used to convert real-world signals, such as sound, temperature, and pressure, into digital signals that can be processed. We believe Analog Devices has a wide economic moat because of its proprietary analog designs and high customer switching costs; since analog chips are neither particularly expensive nor do they require cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, high-quality analog chipmakers tend to retain design wins as long as the end product is being built, all while maintaining healthy pricing and strong profitability over time.

“Most of Analog Devices’ organic sales come from data converters and amplifiers used in various end markets, such as wireless base stations, and the company expanded into power management chips via its acquisitions of Linear Tech and Maxim Integrated.

“An especially promising end market for the firm continues to be the automotive sector. Semis are required to enable the sensors, active safety systems, and advanced infotainment systems added to cars today. Electric vehicles have even more chip content per car, and ADI is well positioned, with a market share lead in battery management systems for electric vehicles. We're also seeing a similar trend of increased chip content in industrial applications like robots, factory equipment, and medical devices. ADI has tens of thousands of customers in these end markets. Further, ADI's signal chain semiconductors will likely be prominently used in 5G wireless network equipment.

“Nonetheless, ADI still faces competition in a fragmented analog market against companies with comparable chip design expertise. Further, the analog chip industry remains quite cyclical and sales probably will continue to ebb and flow with these industry cycles over time.”--Brian Colello, Director of Technology Equity Research with Morningstar Research Services.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar Rating
Accenture PLC Class A291.55 USD4.26Rating
Agilent Technologies Inc123.85 USD2.88Rating
Analog Devices Inc164.00 USD1.03Rating
Ansys Inc252.95 USD2.26Rating
Aspen Technology Inc190.65 USD0.43Rating
Autodesk Inc191.63 USD2.73Rating
BlackRock Inc652.44 USD4.12Rating
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co77.59 USD0.45Rating
Eli Lilly and Co313.46 USD2.10Rating
Gilead Sciences Inc64.47 USD-0.83Rating
Guidewire Software Inc79.97 USD1.50Rating
Intuit Inc406.42 USD4.63Rating
Johnson & Johnson179.46 USD-0.09Rating
Merck & Co Inc92.31 USD-1.54Rating
Microchip Technology Inc70.06 USD2.94Rating
Microsoft Corp265.90 USD1.29Rating
Salesforce.com Inc162.46 USD1.76Rating
ServiceNow Inc454.87 USD0.57Rating
Texas Instruments Inc174.13 USD2.42Rating
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc540.11 USD1.09Rating
Tyler Technologies Inc351.39 USD2.68Rating

About Author

Sachin Nagarajan  Sachin Nagarajan is a customer support representative at Morningstar 

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