Welcome to week 15 of my stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers:

Company

Starting Price*

Recent Price***

Total Return

Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM)

$22.23

$9.29

(58.2%)

Harris & Harris

$6.22

$3.10

(50.2%)

IBM (NYSE:IBM)

$129.05

$71.74

(44.4%)

Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL)

$22.75

$15.40

(32.3%)

Taiwan Semiconductor

$10.34

$5.85

(43.4%)

AVERAGE RETURN

--

--

(45.70%)

S&P 500 SPDR (AMEX:SPY)

$126.28**

$75.45

(40.25%)

DIFFERENCE

--

--

(5.45%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance.
*Tracking began on Aug. 7, 2008.
**Adjusted for dividends and other returns of capital.
***Yahoo! Finance at close of Nov. 20, 2008.

Anyone else feel like they just went 10 rounds with Muhammad Ali? Forget Detroit. My portfolio, down 15% in a week, needs a bailout, posthaste. I also lost ground to Mr. Market.

Bargain-hunting isn't as easy as it seems, either. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) looks cheap, but it could be a spectacular value trap. Cisco, too -- if you're Rick Munarriz. Here are his three reasons to throw this networker away.

But not all tech news is bad news. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) beat back the bear attack with a better-than-expected earnings report. So did cloud-computing upstart salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM). Nibbling at low-priced tech stocks like these now should lead to a feast of wealth later.

Consider history. David Gardner produced a decade of 20% returns by buying and holding the likes of Amazon.com and eBay in the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio. Tom Gardner's "simpleton portfolio" was also a market-beater. With these five tech stocks, I believe that I will achieve similar success.

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

  • New data from researcher iSuppli suggests that Taiwan Semiconductor and its chipmaking peers are in for a very tough 2009.
  • The state of Georgia awarded IBM an $873 million consulting and services contract.
  • Akamai cut approximately 110 jobs, while Amazon announced a competitive, if lightweight, CDN service called CloudFront.

There's your checkup. See you back here next week for more tech stock talk.

Get your clicks with more techie Foolishness:

  • Why the iPhone is poised to keep winning.
  • Obama's candidacy was built on tech. Why can't his presidency be, too?
  • No matter what he says today, Mr. Softy is going to learn to yodel. Bet on it.

Amazon and eBay are Stock Advisor selections. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Akamai and Harris & Harris are Rule Breakers recommendations. Try any of these market-beating services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is getting killed in CAPS right now. Thankfully, his real portfolio is doing better. Tim had stock and options positions in Apple and stock positions in Akamai, Harris & Harris, IBM, Oracle, and Taiwan Semiconductor at the time of publication. The Motley Fool owns shares of S&P 500 depository receipts and has a tech-tastic disclosure policy.