Welcome to week 35 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








S&P 500 SPDR








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

Mr. Market is back, and with a vengeance. A powerful rally -- led in part by good earnings news from Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) -- shaved nearly two percentage points from the S&P's losses as my tech portfolio backslid by a point.

Is it a momentary respite, or the beginning of a long-term rally in banking and other non-tech industries? There's little evidence pointing to a banking bounce, but Pulte's (NYSE:PHM) $1.3 billion purchase of Centex could forecast a wave of needed consolidation in the troubled housing market. Any signs of a housing recovery would very likely lead the S&P higher.

And yet some sectors are showing deeper cracks as others heal. Take the defense contractors. A new budget from the Pentagon makes cuts in programs managed by both Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Boeing (NYSE:BA). Smaller contractors could fare better, but Lockheed and Boeing combined employ more than 300,000 workers.

The week in tech
So uncertainty persists, especially in tech. For example, Twitter. Technical glitches plagued the microblogger throughout the week and into the weekend, when a worm wended its way into the scripts behind some users' profile pages.

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone updated the Twitterverse in a blog post yesterday. "We secured the accounts that had been compromised and removed any content that might help spread the worm," Stone wrote. "All told, we identified and deleted almost 10,000 tweets that could have continued to spread the worm."

Glad to hear it. Trouble is, when you combine its earlier glitches with these recent attacks, it's more evident than ever that Twitter's road to IPO -- if it ever gets there -- will be a bumpy ride.

For others, too. Forrester Research earlier this month projected that U.S. technology spending by government and businesses would decline by 3.1% during 2009. "The U.S. recession keeps getting worse than we and many economists had expected," analyst Andrew Bartels told InformationWeek.

So be it. History shows that the markets reward prudence in picking stocks -- stick to 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:

  • Dan Rayburn, a close observer of the Web content delivery market, says that sources tell him Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is planning a content delivery network (CDN) that could challenge Akamai, Limelight, and their peers.
  • Did I say a deal between IBM and Sun Microsystems was inevitable? Whoops. The deal's off, reports The Wall Street Journal. Sun wanted more money than Big Blue was willing to pay.

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

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers owned shares of 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.