Welcome to vacation week here at the Beyers Household, which means I have to cut this week's update of the Big Idea Portfolio shorter than usual.

What's the Big Idea?
For those unfamiliar with this weekly series, I'm going head-to-head with Mr. Market in a three-year showdown to see who's better at producing returns for investors.

Mr. Market is off to a good start this week. The S&P 500 led the resurgent indexes, rising 0.72% through Wednesday's close, followed by the Nasdaq's 0.61% rally and the Dow's 0.43% gain. Even the small-cap Russell 2000 also managed a marginal win with a 0.16% jump, according to data supplied by The Wall Street Journal.

For me, rallies in the shares of Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Riverbed Technology (UNKNOWN:RVBD.DL), and salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) more than compensated for Apple's recent pullback. Here's where I stood through Wednesday's close:

Company

Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return

Apple

$420.59**

$671.45

59.6%

Google

$650.09

$762.50

17.3%

Rackspace Hosting

$41.65

$67.61

62.3%

Riverbed Technology

$25.95

$23.75

(8.5%)

Salesforce.com

$100.93

$157.04

55.6%

AVERAGE RETURN

--

--

37.26%

S&P 500 SPDR

$125.83**

$145.09

15.31%

DIFFERENCE

--

--

21.95

<h4>Source: Yahoo! Finance.
* Tracking began at market close on Jan. 6, 2012.
** Adjusted for dividends and other returns of capital.</h4>

Notable newsmakers
Google has been rallying for a while now. This week's jump may have as much to do with Apple's troubles with its new iOS Maps app as with the search king's own business.

Or perhaps we're just seeing market momentum at work? On Monday, Google briefly passed Microsoft in terms of total market value. The two remain virtually neck-and-neck as of this writing.

For salesforce.com, bluster from CEO Larry Ellison at Oracle's (NYSE:ORCL) Open World conference has done nothing to dampen enthusiasm for shares of cloud computing's poster stock. Among his barbs: that social networking belongs at the "platform" level (whatever that means) and that salesforce's multi-tenant approach to hosting customer data isn't safe. Tens of thousands of customers say otherwise.

Finally, over at Riverbed, Juniper Networks confirmed that it has selected the company as its "provider of choice" for optimizing wide area networks. The move could help Riverbed further distinguish itself from Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO), a rival that also happens to be Juniper's largest and most important competitor.