R&D Investments Return Dividend for U.S. Companies

U.S. corporations spend more on R&D than their peers in all of Asia and Europe combined, and the investment has made the U.S. number one in patent approvals. No wonder the U.S. is also the world's largest economy.

Note the similarity in the two figures: The U.S. holds 25 percent of the world's patent approvals and accounts for 21 percent of the world's GDP. BofA Merrill Lynch Research Director Candice Browning says this is what sets the U.S. apart and helps explain why 75 percent of venture capital investments happen on U.S. soil. She describes innovation as the key theme determining how her team allocates over $2T of client assets. Innovators drive growth, and growth drives returns.

We found 50 innovators of our own, screening the S&P 1500 for companies which allocate at least 10 percent of annual sales to R&D, and have recently increased R&D spending by 20 percent. As Browning predicted, the results speak for themselves:

Most of the companies which made our list operate in tech-related fields, though they span a number of different sectors. Here are the eight we profiled on-air, followed by the complete list of 50.

ACI Worldwide Inc. (ACIW), Acorda Therapeutics Inc. (ACOR), Adtran Inc. (ADTN), Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ALXN), Ansys Inc. (ANSS), Aerovironment Inc. (AVAV), Blackbaud Inc. (BLKB), Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CBST), Cree Inc. (CREE), Cirrus Logic Inc. (CRUS), eBay Inc. (EBAY), Antaga International Corp. (ANTR), Fullpay Media Systems Inc. (AXPE), FEI Co. (FEIC), F5 Networks Inc. (FFIV), Sourcefire Inc. (FIRE), Financial Engines Inc. (FNGN), Forest Laboratories Inc. (FRX), Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD), Google Inc. (GOOG), Hittite Microwave Corp. (HITT), Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (ININ), Intel Corp. (INTC), Luminex Corp. (LMNX), LogMeIn Inc. (LOGM), LivePerson Inc. (LPSN), Microchip Technology Inc. (MCHP), Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. (MDRX), Medidata Solutions Inc. (MDSO), Microsemi Corp. (MSCC), Microstrategy Inc. (MSTR), Netscout Systems Inc. (NTCT), Oplink Communications Inc. (OPLK), Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), Red Hat Inc. (RHT), Semtech Corp. (SMTC), Synchronoss Technologies Inc. (SNCR), Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc. (SPPI), SolarWinds Inc. (SWI), Skyworks Solutions Inc. (SWKS), Teradyne Inc. (TER), Thoratec Corp. (THOR), Tangoe Inc. (TNGO), TripAdvisor Inc. (TRIP), Trimble Navigation Ltd. (TRMB), Ultratech Inc. (UTEK), ValueClick Inc. (VCLK), WageWorks Inc. (WAGE), Western Digital Corp. (WDC), Ixia (XXIA).

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