Welcome to week 107 of stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers.


Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return





Harris & Harris








Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL)




Taiwan Semiconductor








S&P 500 SPDR








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

The market's had a good week overall, up 1.19 percentage points. Altria Group (NYSE: MO) and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (Nasdaq: GMCR) both reached new 52-week highs this week, as investors overcame fears of suffering through another "Lost Decade."

There's reason to be cautiously optimistic about both stocks, and the market overall. Altria, one of our "11 O'Clock Stocks," pumps out cash like an ATM and has done so for years. Investors realize the benefits by way of a 6.5% annual dividend yield.

By contrast, Green Mountain is a go-go-growth monster that keeps exceeding analysts' expectations. That performance will change at some point, but given the attractive economics of the Keurig single-cup coffee machine, the party could go on for a while yet.

Wall Street, meanwhile, continues to offer selected bargains. Take dividend stocks. According to Bloomberg, dividend payers now exceed the average coupon rate on bonds at a ratio not seen in 15 years. Big, stable yielders such as Altria are partly responsible for this shift.

Global opportunities also abound. India's top stocks are profiting from big economic gains and rising wealth. HDFC Bank (NYSE: HDB), in particular, is positioned to profit by financing needed infrastructure projects in both urban and rural areas of the subcontinent.

The week in tech
Tech's finest are taking on a similar role here at home. The difference is that they're focusing on digital rather than physical infrastructure.

Take search. This week, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) introduced Instant, a real-time option that attempts to predict your query as you type. Executives at a press event referred to it as almost "psychic." I'm skeptical that the new algorithm is as important as The Big G would have us believe, but there's no doubt we need search improvements to amplify the Web experience.

Google's historic tendency to lead industry efforts in this area is part of what makes me consider the stock such an attractive buy right now. History shows that owning a diversified portfolio of disruptors can create massive amounts of wealth over the long term.

Look at David Gardner. He produced a decade of 20% returns in the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio by betting on a collection of innovators and then holding them for the long term. Tom Gardner's "simpleton portfolio" was also a 10-year winner. I believe that with my tech portfolio, I will achieve similar success.

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

  • My peers finally got on board and named IBM an "11 O'Clock Stock." Foolish colleague Eric Bleeker nailed it when he wrote that Big Blue's business model is "effective." A history of outsized returns on capital speaks to this truth, as do tens of billions of dollars in free cash flow over the past three years.
  • Oracle this week hired Mark Hurd as co-president to replace longtime executive Charles Phillips. Hurd's former employer, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), responded by suing him to enforce what it says is a "confidentiality agreement." That's bunk. This is seller's remorse, and HP knows it.

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

Get your clicks with more techie Foolishness:

True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Akamai, Google, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Harris & Harris are Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendations. Google is also a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the market-beating Rule Breakers stock picking team. He owned shares of Akamai, Google, 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. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. The Motley Fool owns shares of Altria, Google, IBM, and Oracle and is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is tech-tastic.