|Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL )||$422.46||$584.00||38.2%|
|Google (Nasdaq: GOOG )||$650.09||$580.07||(10.8%)|
|S&P 500 SPDR||$126.50**||$136.10||7.59%|
Source: Yahoo! Finance. *Tracking began at market close on Jan. 6, 2012. **Adjusted for dividends and other returns of capital.
The week that was
After marginal losses the week prior, index investors had to love last week's rally. Once more the small-cap Russell 2000 led its larger peers, gaining 3.01% over the past five trading days. The S&P 500 ranked next, up 2.03%, while the Dow and Nasdaq Composite improved 1.89% and 1.47%, respectively, CNBC reports. The rally cheered investors and sent the CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, a common yardstick for measuring fear of short-term losses, down nearly 6%.
A breakthrough deal to stabilize European markets probably helped boost confidence. At a meeting in Brussels, EU leaders agreed that rescue funds could be used to prop up Italy's and Spain's bond values without imposing additional austerity measures on either country.
Here in the U.S., the Supreme Court shocked, well, just about everyone, when it upheld most of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act -- or "Obamacare," according to the common vernacular. Chief Justice John Roberts joined a majority that included several of the court's more liberal justices in ruling that insurers can't deny coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions, among other provisions. Shares of national health insurers have fallen on the news, with WellPoint (NYSE: WLP ) , down more than 9% since last Thursday, leading the way.
Tech poppers and floppers
Innovators had a mixed week, with Google getting headlines for new products introduced at its annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco, including:
- Nexus 7, Google's new tablet. Asus is building the device with help from NVIDIA, which has supplied the tab's quad-core processor. But tech specs aren't the story here. In a broadside aimed at the Kindle Fire, Google plans to sell the Nexus 7 for as little as $199. That's the good news. The bad? Google doesn't appear interested in supporting Amazon.com's (Nasdaq: AMZN ) Instant Video marketplace, choosing instead to get Nexus 7 users buying more from the Google Play video and audio stores. Ironic, since Amazon has also stiff-armed Galaxy Tab owners by refusing to make an Instant Video app available for the device.
- Nexus Q, a set-top box that allows for social sharing of audio and video playlists. Here, too, the search king is attempting to get more users buying from the Google Play stores by limiting third-party-supplier access. Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX ) , for example, won't get the same consideration in Nexus Q that Apple gives to its longtime streaming partner.
- Google Glasses, experimental specs we've been hearing about for months. At Google I/O, co-founder Sergey Brin talked up the idea of having an unobtrusive heads-up display available for using the Internet to enhance -- rather than avoid -- the real world around us. Crazy, you say? Perhaps, but this is just the sort of crazy that's made Google a great investment in years past.
Do you agree? Which tech stocks do you like now and over the next three years? Please weigh in using the comments box below.
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