Welcome to week 44 of my stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers:

Company

Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return

Akamai

$22.23

$22.89

2.9%

Harris & Harris

$6.22

$5.36

(13.8%)

IBM

$126.97**

$109.40

(13.8%)

Oracle

$22.69**

$20.94

(7.7%)

Taiwan Semiconductor

$10.34

$10.53

1.8%

AVERAGE RETURN

--

--

(6.12%)

S&P 500 SPDR

$124.37**

$94.82

(23.76%)

DIFFERENCE

--

--

17.64

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

While Mr. Market held mostly steady, my tech portfolio once again turned north. All five stocks are now outperformers when compared to the S&P 500.

Could this mean that, despite ruminations to the contrary, a buy-to-hold strategy is still as acceptable as it ever was? It's probably not hard evidence for either side of that question, since this contest is only 10 months old. But there was a time when I was trailing badly. Holding firm to my investing thesis has thus far paid off.

And recoveries do happen. This week, 10 banks were approved to pay back in full (with interest) the TARP funds they had received. Among the suddenly more-solvent: American Express (NYSE:AXP) and Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

Still, those who oppose buy-and-hold investing got more ammo this week, when the Federal Trade Commission argued against the biotech industry's wish for a 12-to-14-year moratorium on follow-on biologics, the generic versions of protein-based drugs.

The ruling may not mean much in the short term; ultimately, it seems the agency intends to help the Obama administration fulfill its promise to bring more generic drugs to market. Innovators such as Abbott Labs (NYSE:ABT) could suffer increased volatility as a result.

The week in tech
Meanwhile, in the digital realm, Palm (NASDAQ:PALM) shipped its new Pre smartphone on Saturday -- D-Day -- and set a new sales record for Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) in the process.

Palm had a big week. On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) wireless group could begin selling the Pre in January, seemingly corroborating comments made last month by Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam. On Wednesday, company co-founder Ed Colligan stepped aside as CEO in favor of products chief Jon Rubinstein, completing a restructuring process begun when Elevation Partners invested in Palm in 2007.

In search, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) investment in Bing.com is paying off with higher engagement numbers, as reported this week by researcher comScore. Yet Bing still has a long way to go in knocking Google off its lofty perch. Data indicates that brand matters more than results when it comes to search.

So be it. Tech investing works best when practiced over very long periods. Witness David Gardner, who 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:

  • Taiwan Semiconductor CEO Morris Chang this week told reporters that he expects the company's core foundry business to grow by as much as 50% between now and 2018. He's also entertaining lateral moves into light-emitting diodes and solar energy. Watch this space for details -- these aren't exactly related businesses, and such diversification could prove worrisome.

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

Get your clicks with further techie Foolishness:

Akamai, Google, and Harris & Harris are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. American Express, Microsoft, and Sprint Nextel are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. The Fool owns shares of American Express. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services 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.