Welcome to week 28 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.

What a week for Mr. Market. Already shaken, the S&P was down close to 2% again this morning, on more bad banking news. At one point, Citigroup (NYSE:C) was off more than 40%.

And while Congress has finally settled on a stimulus plan, here at Fool.com, the debates rage on. Arguments for and against the bailout have received well more than 400 comments from you, our Foolish readers. Perfect wisdom eludes us. And, apparently, Mr. Market; uncertainty is destroying his returns.

The week in tech
My tech portfolio took hits as well, but not as large, and my lead in this contest has widened by another 38 basis points.

To be fair, I should mention that in recent days both the Dow and the S&P 500 have taken bigger hits than the tech-heavy Nasdaq. Today, for example, while the Dow was down more than 1% in early trading, the Nasdaq was off marginally. On Tuesday -- panic day -- the S&P was the biggest loser of the three major indices.

So my portfolio could be benefiting from general investor interest in tech. Then again, this week's tech news was mixed. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), for the first time, lagged PC sellers in retail sales during January. That's a bad sign. As great as iPod Touch and iPhone sales have been, Apple needs the Mac to do well in order to deliver premium returns to investors.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), meanwhile, saw its search market share decline from December to January -- unusual for a search king that's used to treating its peers like serfs. Perhaps those days are over?

Maybe. At least the Big G isn't tripping over itself like Facebook. The social-networking superstar, now with 175 million users, this week unveiled draconian terms of service that claimed irrevocable content distribution rights. Talk about stupid. CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his team have since pulled back from the content abyss, but the PR fallout could last awhile.

In better news, Seagate (NYSE:STX) CEO Stephen Luczo once again bet big on his company's stock. So did Harry Stylli, chief executive of biotech rebel Sequenom (NASDAQ:SQNM).

Both bets could pay off. History shows that panicky markets like these reward prudence in picking stocks and patience in waiting for gains. That's how Fool co-founder 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!
Here’s the rest of today's update:

  • Taiwan Semiconductor Chairman Morris Chang told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that he thought the industry, as whole, was close to bottoming out, but that it would also take three years before pre-recession sales volumes return.

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

Get your clicks with more techie Foolishness:

Apple is a Stock Advisor stock selection. Akamai, Google, and Harris & Harris are Rule Breakers recommendations. Try either of these Foolish services free for 30 days. There's no obligation to subscribe.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and 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.