The year ahead could be a bumpy ride for tech, what with interest rates set to rise and growth stocks expected to take it on the chin, but there\u2019s still money to be made in a stock picker\u2019s environment. To that end, Cantech has compiled a number of analysts\u2019 best ideas in the Canadian tech, life sciences and healthcare spaces, presented here in no particular order. Last week, National Bank Financial released its report on the year ahead, saying that when it comes to technology, while the themes that dominated in 2021 will likely prevail in 2022, market sentiment has obviously shifted, as witnessed by declines across the sector in recent months.\u00a0 NBF analysts Richard Tse and John Shao said the broader trends towards digital transformation, AI, e-commerce and supply chain management are all expected to be key going forward and long-term investors focusing on market leaders in those fields will be rewarded. As for the shorter term, the recent pullback has made tech valuations seem much more reasonable, while stock selection will be the name of the game in 2022. From that perspective, Tse likes Canadian IT Services giant CGI Group (CGI Group Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:GIB.A), saying the company is set to resume its previous growth trajectory with, among others, its metro-market acquisition growth strategy which will deploy $1 billion over the next 12 months to fuel its M&A. \u201cCGI\u2019s operating prowess and focus on profitable growth is undervalued in a market that\u2019s been drawn to high growth (valuation) names,\u201d Tse wrote in National Bank\u2019s January 9 report. Tse has also nominated Kinaxis (Kinaxis\u00a0Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:KXS), saying the supply chain management SaaS business has industry tailwinds at its disposal, making Kinaxis\u2019 RapidResponse platform a high demand item. \u201cWe continue to believe KXS\u2019s valuation does not fully value a \u2018normalized\u2019 financial run rate looking ahead, particularly given that the total addressable market has expanded meaningfully from 3,000 to 7,000 customers,\u201d Tse wrote. John Shao has his eyes on Magnet Forensics (Magnet Forensics Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:MAGT), calling the digital investigation software company an early leader in its market with strong growth and profitability sightlines.\u00a0 \u201c combination of growth and profitability is coming from its unique advantages (an extensive artifact library, a complete digital forensic suite, a highly efficient sales model, etc.) in a market which has a very high entry barrier. Looking ahead, we\u2019d expect that momentum to continue given the Company has already demonstrated its strong execution,\u201d Shao wrote. Despite the damage wrought by a short-seller report this past September, Tse says payments platform Nuvei (Nuvei Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:NVEI) is also worthy of Top Pick status. Tse believes the company is a disruptive player within a still-transforming payments market and that the name has the potential for outsized growth relative to the rest of the sector. \u201cNuvei continues to expand in high growth verticals as demonstrated by its most recent acquisitions of Mazooma and Simplex, which have pushed the company further into both Crypto and the US gaming markets. Recent partnerships with brand names such as BetMGM (online gaming) & FTX (crypto exchange) highlight the Company\u2019s intentions in those high growth segments,\u201d Tse wrote. Finally, Tse gave the nod to TELUS International (TELUS International Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:TIX), the Telus offshoot within the IT Services, content moderation and digital experience and data annotation space. Tse said TIX has the potential to further accelerate organic growth through acquisitions and that management has said breadth and velocity of M&A will pick up over 2022. \u201cWith social content moving further into the crosshairs of regulation, we believe services such as content moderation continue to rise in their prominence. In 2019, Facebook spent ~$3.7 billion on content moderation employing tens of thousands of moderators. We think it\u2019s reasonable for that spending to increase given the current backdrop \u2013 and with more social names in the market today, that aggregate market is likely even bigger. In our view, TELUS International\u2019s AI solutions and moderators help those enterprises,\u201d Tse wrote. National Bank\u2019s Top Picks CGI Group \tRating: Outperform \tTarget Price: $135.00 \tProjected Return: 27 per cent Kinaxis \tRating: Outperform \tTarget Price: $225.00 \tProjected Return: 42 per cent Magnet Forensics \tRating: Outperform \tTarget Price: $55.00 \tProjected Return: 91 per cent Nuvei Corp \tRating: Outperform \tTarget Price: US$160.00 \tProjected Return: 152 per cent TELUS International \tRating: Outperform \tTarget Price: US$50.00 \tProjected Return: 66 per cent Haywood Capital Markets has delivered their 2022 top picks, with the list dominated by mining stocks but having three in the Tech\/Special Situations category. Haywood said the potentially tough year ahead, fraught with continued COVID disruptions, rising commodity prices and higher interest rates, make it the investor\u2019s job to lean more heavily on company fundamentals to find names that are best-positioned in their respective industries. In the cannabis space, analyst Neal Gilmer singled out US multi-state operator Curaleaf (Curaleaf Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials CSE:CURA) for the wide scope of its operations (covering 23 states and including at last count 117 dispensaries) and healthy balance sheet with a recent US$475 million in debt financing to support its M&A program into 2022. \u201cWe believe Curaleaf has demonstrated an ability to effectively grow both organically and through strategic acquisitions,\u201d Gilmer wrote in Haywood\u2019s January 12 report. \u201cThe strength of the management team and balance sheet accompanied by the size of operations should return meaningful growth and leverage without the need of further legislative reform. Future reform at either the federal or individual state levels should only accelerate Curaleaf\u2019s growth trajectory.\u201d Gilmer also likes Canadian mobile game developer East Side Games Group (East Side Games Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:EAGR), who the analyst says should see a step-up in growth in 2022 driven by new titles and the benefit of its idle game development platform IdleKit. As well, Gilmer thinks East Side Games is a prime take-out target over the next couple of years as the company continues to mature and execute to strategy, noting that gaming heavyweight Take Two recently bought mobile game publisher Zynga for an implied valuation of US$12.7 billion. \u201cWe believe East Side Games has demonstrated its ability to enter several proprietary IP agreements while at the same time entering partnerships that leverage its IdelKit platform to further diversify its revenue base,\u201d Gilmer wrote. \u201cWith a proven game portfolio, new title launches, a SaaS revenue model and M&A pipeline the company is well positioned in 2022.\u201d Last, Haywood analyst Colin Healey likes Greenlane Renewables (Greenlane Renewables Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:GRN) in the cleantech space, saying the biogas upgrading tech company is his preferred way to gain leverage to the accelerating global investment in renewable natural gas infrastructure. Healey said 2022 should be another big growth year for Greenlane as the company continues to grow its international footprint and build out its sales pipeline. \u201cGreenlane offers the broadest range of technologies, providing a strategic advantage,\u201d Healey wrote. \u201cWe see RNG as a critical component of the green energy revolution and continue to see governments worldwide prioritizing it.\u201d Haywood\u2019s Top Picks Curaleaf \tRating: Buy \tTarget Price: $20.00 \tProjected Return: 90 per cent East Side Games Group \tRating: Buy \tTarget Price: $6.50 \tProjected Return: 87 per cent Greenlane Renewables \tRating: Buy \tTarget Price: $3.75 \tProjected Return: 200 per cent The past couple of years have truly been a mixed bag for the healthcare space, with some companies benefitting from business related to helping populations survive and recover from the pandemic while others, especially in the health tech space, finding that the lockdowns and slowdowns made it more difficult to bring their products to market.\u00a0 Looking at healthcare, analyst Chelsea Stellick of iA Capital Markets saw prior momentum and positive sentiment wane through 2021 and while the rebound may be a ways off yet, Stellick is confident that investors with longer-term horizons can do well in the space. \u201cWe believe integrated health tech players will shine in the years ahead as tight labour conditions increase an emphasis on employee retention,\u201d Stellick said in a January 10 report. \u201cHowever, we acknowledge that it may take until 2023 for market sentiment to completely recover from a painful 2021. We believe 2022 will present a unique opportunity for steadfast value investors to accumulate high-quality health technology ahead of the inevitable recovery in a rapid growth industry.\u201d\u00a0 To that end, Stellick picked healthcare services company CareRx (CareRx Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:CRRX), which runs a network of specialty pharmacy fulfillment centres for seniors\u2019 residences, and Quipt Home Medical (Quipt Home Medical Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:QIPT), which provides in-home monitoring and chronic disease management services.\u00a0 On CareRx, Stellick said the company\u2019s recent M&A activity combined with debenture conversions this year will turn the company into \u201ca cash flow machine\u201d by the end of 2022, while macro tailwinds in the form of an ageing demographic will be a boost for the company. \u201cCareRx has a goal to reach $500 million in run-rate revenue (currently $370 million) and we conservatively estimate Adj. EBITDA margin to be 12 per cent-plus, which is achievable given the opportunities for growth in bed count that can be serviced with existing infrastructure,\u201d Stellick wrote. \u201cCareRx also has a number of technology partnerships and a subsidiary that offers prescription delivery. This kind of \u2018other bets\u2019 portfolio benefits its brand value and provides moonshot opportunities to reinvest cash flow into,\u201d she said. As for Quipt Home Medical, Stellick said 2022 should be a year of rapid expansion involving further acquisitions and the further scaling up of operations across the United States where the company has dramatically grown its business to serving over 150,000 patients as of the end of 2021 including 62 locations across 15 states. \u201cWe believe that recent tuck-in acquisitions and potential acquisitions currently under non-binding LOIs position QIPT well for 2022 and we anticipate more accretive acquisitions to be announced in 2022,\u201d Stellick wrote. \u201cThe regulatory environment is increasingly favourable; recent delays to Medicare cuts are representative of the Biden administration\u2019s desire to maintain and improve healthcare coverage. QIPT trades at a significant discount to its peers (~9\u00d7 versus ~14\u00d7 F2022E EV\/Adj. EBITDA), which we believe is unwarranted given management\u2019s strong track record of successfully improving profitability,\u201d she said. iA Capital Markets\u2019 Top Picks CareRx Corp\u00a0 \tRating: Buy\u00a0 \tTarget Price: $9.50 \tProjected Return: 89.6 per cent Quipt Home Medical \tRating: Buy \tTarget Price: $13.50 \tProjected Return: 81.0 per cent Stick to the basics seems to be the theme this year and it\u2019s one echoed by Laurentian Bank in its Preferred Picks 2022 report, delivered on January 5. Laurentian said macro uncertainties along with COVID are continuing factors as we begin the new year and thus its stock picks \u201cfocus on companies with sound business models, healthy balance sheets and cash flow generation, and positive organic growth.\u201d Laurentian analyst Nick Agostino has singled out enterprise resource planning (ERP) software company Sylogist (Sylogist Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:SYZ) in the Diversified Technology space, saying higher IT spend by companies as a result of supply chain issues and the pandemic should benefit SYZ.\u00a0 \u201cWhile the supply chain challenges noted above may have tempered some growth, we believe that demand has not been lost but rather deferred and look to above normal IT growth rates to persist through 2022 and likely into 2023,\u201d Agostino wrote. \u201cThe heightened IT (software) spending should also benefit our preferred pick, Sylogist.\u201d Finally, Laurentian analyst Nauman Satti likes aerospace name H\u00e9roux-Devtek (H\u00e9roux-Devtek Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:HRX) in the Diversified category, saying the company is showing stable revenue from its backlog despite industry challenges, is showing growth in its Defence segment, has a strong balance sheet with M&A upside and continues to grow its brand as witnessed by its new Lockheed Martin contract. \u201cThe recent landing gear design contract with Lockheed Martin is reflective of HRX\u2019s ability to undertake more sophisticated work, enhancing its brand and making it a more attractive acquirer,\u201d Satti wrote. Laurentian Bank Securities\u2019 Preferred Picks 2022 Sylogist \tRating: Buy \tTarget Price: $16.00 \tProjected Return: 38 per cent H\u00e9roux-Devtek \tRating: Buy \tTarget Price: $23.00 \tProjected Return: 36 per cent Disclosure: East Side Games Group is an annual sponsor of Cantech Letter.