Apple's Rally Can't Match the Salesforce Stock Slump

Each week, I endeavor to report the results of the Big Idea Portfolio, a collection of five tech stocks that I believe will crush the market over a three-year period. I've done it before; my last tussle with Mr. Market ended with me beating the index's average return by 13.35%.

Real money was on the line then as it is now, which means any one of the five stocks you see below could tip the scales in my favor. This time, salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM  ) stock sunk 5% Friday after offering subpar guidance the night before.

Wall Street was looking for $0.12 a share in fiscal Q2 earnings on $934.5 million in revenue. Management offered a more conservative target, guiding to $0.11 to $0.12 on $931 to $936 million in revenue. Salesforce stock sold off as a result, but not by as much as I would have expected, given the number of short sellers piling in recently.

Why didn't the bears collect bigger profits last week? Growth might have something do with it. First-quarter revenue improved 28% to $893 million, ahead of estimates. Current-year forecasts call for at least $3.835 billion in sales. All signs point to CEO Marc Benioff's making good on his promise to create a $10 billion company.

Sustainable profits will come, but not until Benioff is done building.

What's the Big Idea this week?
Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) nearly 3% gain for the week came amid sharp questions about its tax policies and were no match for the Salesforce stock slump. Shares of the cloud computing pioneer fell 11% for the week as the Big Idea Portfolio surrendered 324 basis points to Mr. Market in our three-year contest to see who can do better for investors.

This time, all four indexes fell. The small-cap Russell 2000 led the laggards with a 1.20% decline, followed by the Nasdaq's 1.14% dip, the S&P 500's 1.07% drop, and the Dow's 0.33% slip, according to data supplied by The Wall Street Journal. Here's a closer look at where I stood through Friday's close:

Company
Starting Price*
Recent Price
Total Return

Apple

$413.52**

$445.15

7.6%

Google

$650.09

$873.32

34.3%

Rackspace Hosting

$41.65

$39.19

(5.9%)

Riverbed Technology

$25.95

$15.00

(42.2%)

Salesforce

$25.26**

$43.25

71.2%

AVERAGE RETURN

--

--

13.00%

S&P 500 SPDR

$124.39**

$165.31

32.89%

DIFFERENCE

--

--

(19.89%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.
* Tracking began at market close on Jan. 6, 2012.
** Adjusted for dividends, splits, and other returns of capital.

Notable newsmakers
Among the other tech stocks making news last week:

  • Tableau Software (NYSE: DATA  ) , one of this year's most exciting new IPOs, burst onto the scene with two straight days of surging stock prices. There's much to like about the business of data visualization, so keep an eye on this stock.

  • Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) unveiled Xbox One for combining voice, video chat, gaming, TV, and more into a single console. Anyone think Mr. Softy isn't serious about winning the war for living room? My Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz is right: Apple has work to do.

  • Finally, shares of Pandora Media (NYSE: P  ) initially soared and then fell after reporting big gains in revenue and active users. Full year-earnings are now forecast to come in between a $0.02 loss and an $0.08 profit. Wall Street is modeling for just a $0.01-per-share profit, so there could be more upside to be had in the quarters ahead.

What else caught your eye in the tech world last week? Would you buy, sell, or short Salesforce stock now? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.

Five stocks enter, one stock leaves
It's incredible to think just how much of our digital and technological lives are almost entirely shaped and molded by just a handful of companies. Find out "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks" in The Motley Fool's latest free report, which details the knock-down, drag-out battle being waged among the five kings of tech. Click here to keep reading.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On May 26, 2013, at 7:32 PM, techy46 wrote:

    Apple looks like it's PS is being propped up by it's own share buybacks which in the short term isn't a good sign.

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