Welcome to week 29 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.

My lead expands again -- by 156 basis points this time. Not because of a string of gains, but because my tech portfolio is more resilient than the S&P 500, which fell another 2%.

Investors are worried. They're worried that the stimulus plan and President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget will transform us into collective-farming socialists. They feel as though Uncle Sam has mugged us. And they're unwilling to risk capital for fear that he'll do it again.

The week in tech
A valid concern? That's debatable. But I've long suspected that our national mood would get worse before it got better. I stacked my tech portfolio with cash-rich money-gushers because I believed that they'd be less susceptible to a stock market tantrum.

So far, I've been proved right. Yet my thesis is now under assault following a tough week for tech. On Tuesday, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Gmail suffered a high-profile outage. The site was only down for about two and a half hours, but Twitter was abuzz with "#Gfail" comments from those who remembered a series of more damaging outages last summer.

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), meanwhile, took a hit after researcher Pinch Media said that only 1% of those who download software from the iTunes App Store become long-term users. The implication? We love the iPhone as we love Facebook: as a toy.

The iEmpire's board didn't help matters when Arthur Levinson, chief executive of Genentech (NYSE:DNA) and co-lead director, told attendees of this week's annual meeting that he and his peers regularly take up succession planning as a topic. Wonderful. Now how about coming up with an actual succession plan, sirs?

Fortunately, the tech world also had two bright spots. On Monday, Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) reported excellent cash flows thanks to huge improvements in inventory management. On Wednesday, salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) blew away the Street's fourth-quarter estimates and issued Q1 and full-year earnings guidance above projections.

Don't look so surprised. History shows that panicky markets like these reward prudence in picking stocks -- only bet on the 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:

  • In a week where most stocks fell, Akamai defied the skeptics, up just less than 2%.
  • IBM this week helped itself to a heaping helping of stimulus pie when it signed deals with four hospital groups to outfit them for electronic medical records. Big Blue now has more than 1,000 hospital clients worldwide.

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

Get your clicks with more techie Foolishness:

Apple and Netflix are Stock Advisor selections. Akamai, Google, Harris & Harris, and salesforce.com are Rule Breakers recommendations. Garmin is a Motley Fool Global Gains selection. Try any 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.