Welcome to week 17 of my stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers:


Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return





Harris & Harris












Taiwan Semiconductor (NYSE:TSM)
















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

Only 17 basis points down this week. Not bad, considering how profusely my tech portfolio has bled in recent weeks.

The Wall Street Journal tells me that tech shares may fall further. Citing performance data from the dark days of the dot-com bust, Journal writers Ben Charny and Andrew Morse wrote last week: "Shares of technology companies have lost roughly half their value since worries about the economy began wracking the market earlier this year. If past downturns are any indication, they still may have 18 months and another 50% to fall."

Oh, goody.

But Charney and Morse aren't the only writers to question the veracity of some tech stocks. Rick Munarriz wonders whether Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) could be the next Iomega. (I don't see how.) Dave Mock, meanwhile, says that Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) graduated rollout plan for its feature-rich N97 handset suggests that the company's out of touch.

I can appreciate their skepticism. We've been here before with tech, and last time, tech let us down. But is now just like then? Certainly not. Tech spending may be down, but this time, the banks and automakers need the bailouts. Apple has enough cash to bail out General Motors on its own.  

So while I'm cautious, I'm also mindful of history. David Gardner produced a decade of 20% returns by buying and holding the likes of Amazon.com and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) in the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio. Tom Gardner's "simpleton portfolio" was also a market-beater. I believe that, with these five tech stocks, I will achieve similar success.

Checkup time!
A few quick notes to round out this week's update:

  • Online-video-industry watcher Dan Rayburn writes in this blog post that Akamai is haphazardly cutting prices for its core content-delivery product to fend off competition. I don't mind price cuts, but I'd prefer to see Akamai, named a Black Friday bargain by Foolish colleague Anders Bylund, acting strategically to preserve market share.
  • Earlier this week, Taiwan Semiconductor reduced its fourth-quarter revenue and margin forecast. In response, executives are requiring staff to take unpaid leave, Reuters reports.

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

Get your clicks with more techie Foolishness:

Amazon, Apple, and eBay are Stock Advisor selections. Nokia is an Inside Value pick. Akamai and Harris & Harris are Rule Breakers recommendations. Try any of these Foolish services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

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, Nokia, Oracle, and Taiwan Semiconductor at the time of publication. The Motley Fool has a tech-tastic disclosure policy.