These Tech Stocks Will Make Me Rich

Welcome to week 62 of my stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers:

Company

Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return

Akamai

$22.23

$21.80

(1.9%)

Harris & Harris

$6.22

$5.05

(18.8%)

IBM

$126.39**

$121.64

(3.8%)

Oracle

$22.58**

$21.81

(3.4%)

Taiwan Semiconductor

$9.81**

$9.83

0.2%

AVERAGE RETURN

--

--

(5.54%)

S&P 500 SPDR

$123.09**

$108.89

(11.54%)

DIFFERENCE

--

--

6.00

Source: Yahoo! Finance.
* Tracking began on Aug. 7, 2008.
** Adjusted for dividends and other returns of capital.

My losing streak now spans three weeks and counting. My luck's gotten so bad that my black pens are bleeding red ink.

Indecision isn't helping much. The market is up 60% since its March lows, leading to debate over whether now is the time to take profits, or buy more. Meanwhile, arguments over the long-term effects of proposed health-care reform are also creating volatility, hurting my returns.

In addition, catalysts are scarce, according to Goldman Sachs. The firm's chief U.S. equity analyst recently said that sustainable stock gains won't return until the market's bellwethers report outsized revenue growth.

Those were prescient words, in light of General Electric's (NYSE: GE  ) results. CNBC's parent suffered a 20% revenue decline, four points short of what Wall Street expected. The stock fell more than 4% on Friday.

Hasbro (NYSE: HAS  ) suffered a similar fate. The toymaker said in today's earnings report that revenue fell 2% after accounting for currency effects, yet per-share net income rose 11% over the same period. No matter: Shares of Hasbro are off 4% as of this writing.

Even so, some investors are seeing green right now. Earlier today, Gannett (NYSE: GCI  ) posted better-than-expected earnings, and it's up more than 8% as I write this.

The week in tech
Earnings season is also here for tech's titans, and the known names are showing strength. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , for example, reported modest revenue gains, but double-digit improvement in paid clicks. Its net income rose 27%.

Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) did even better. Revenue improved 17% over last quarter, amid signs of greater consumer spending on tech products. Netbooks from the likes of Dell (Nasdaq: DELL  ) , Hewlett-Packard, and Asus appear to have been the major catalyst, according to a recent report from DisplaySearch.

We'll get an even better read on the tech rally -- if there is one forthcoming -- tonight, when Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) reports fiscal fourth-quarter results. The Street is expecting $9.2 billion in revenue and $1.42 per share in earnings, but as my Foolish colleague Anders Bylund correctly points out here, the perma-bulls may be expecting much more. Don't be surprised if the stock suffers a Tuesday sell-off.

Volatility is the one constant in the turbulent tech investing game. Patience and diversification are key. Look at David Gardner. He produced a decade of 20% returns in the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio by betting on a broad portfolio of innovators, and holding for the long-term. Tom Gardner's "simpleton portfolio" was also a 10-year winner. I believe that, with these five tech stocks, I will achieve similar success.

Checkup time!
Now let's move on to the rest of today's update:

  • IBM last week reported better-than-expected earnings, but still disappointed investors when revenue fell 7%. Worse yet, Robert Moffat, head of Big Blue's Systems and Technology group, was arrested after being implicated in an insider trading scandal. He's officially listed as (ahem) "on leave," Reuters reports.
  • The same scandal has also enveloped a thus-far unnamed Akamai insider, who allegedly fed information to a hedge fund about the content-delivery king's awful 2008 third-quarter report. A resulting short position yielded $3.5 million in illicit gains, The Boston Globe reports.

There's your check-up. See you back here on Friday for more tech stock talk.

Get your clicks with more techie Foolishness:

Akamai, Google, and Harris & Harris are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Dell and Intel are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Apple and Hasbro are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and Google and owned shares of Akamai, Harris & Harris, IBM, Oracle, and Taiwan Semiconductor at the time of publication. Check out his portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool owns shares of Hasbro and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is tech-tastic.


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