Welcome to week 27 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
















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

And the hits keep on coming. Mr. Market took more hits than I did, though, and my lead has increased another 91 basis points.

Frankly, I don't think anyone should be surprised. The S&P 500 is loaded down with heavily leveraged banks that badly need relief from toxic assets. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has yet to introduce a clear plan to fix the problem. When he does, the market should surge, taking my five tech titans along with it.

The week in tech
They've proven resilient in the meantime. Of course, there's a difference between being insulated and being immune. Look at Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Some are talking as if the company can do no wrong, even in the wake of rumored engineering layoffs.

Author Jeff Jarvis argues in the new book What Would Google Do? that carmakers could benefit by opening up their design and manufacturing processes to customer input, as Google traditionally has with its own products. Leaders of Britain's opposition Conservative Party, meanwhile, have tapped CEO Eric Schmidt for an economic recovery advisory panel.

Let's all be Google!

Or not. Look, I love Google, I own shares, but aren't we being just a little silly? Google hasn't cured cancer. Nor AIDS. Nor the common cold. Let's dial down the hyperbole, folks.

And it's not like tech is trouble-free. Late last week, salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) revealed that three of its executives had left the company. One departure was expected, two others weren't. The two that weren't were (ahem) sales executives, which doesn't bode well for the company's fourth-quarter earnings report, due out on the afternoon of Feb. 25.

There's also Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI), which should have become a software business two years ago; now, it likely faces a date with doomsday. Roughly $175 million in debt comes due next week, and there's every reason to believe that this one-time superstar will seek shelter via a bankruptcy filing.

That's sure to create uncertainty. For tech investors like me, it's time to exercise prudence in picking stocks -- stick with the very best -- and patience in waiting for gains. That's how David Gardner produced a decade of 20% returns in the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio. Tom Gardner's "simpleton portfolio" was also a 10-year winner. I believe that, with these five tech stocks, I will achieve similar success.

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

  • Oracle suffered when an FBR Capital Markets analyst lowered earnings estimates, but CEO Larry Ellison had a good week. His massive stake in online business software supplier NetSuite (NYSE:N) -- Ellison was an early investor -- is up more than 19% since the company reported its first profitable quarter on Tuesday.
  • Caris and Company, on the other hand, is impressed by what it sees in IBM. Analysts there initiated coverage of the stock this week, rating it "Above Average."

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

Get your clicks with more techie Foolishness:

Harris & Harris Group, Google, and Akamai Technologies are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Try Rule Breakers free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Google, and stock positions in Akamai, Harris & Harris, IBM, Oracle, and Taiwan Semiconductor, at the time of publication. Check out his portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool.

The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is tech-tastic.