Welcome to week 142 of my stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers.


Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return

Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM) $22.23 $33.95 52.7%
Harris & Harris $6.22 $5.10 (18.0%)
IBM (NYSE: IBM) $122.42** $169.92 38.8%
Oracle $22.33** $35.19 57.6%
Taiwan Semiconductor $9.35** $13.59 45.3%
AVERAGE RETURN -- -- 35.28%
S&P 500 SPDR $120.04** $134.04 11.66%
DIFFERENCE -- -- 23.62

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

After five days on the road, it's nice to come home to another victory over Mr. Market. My tech portfolio added 33 basis points in this contest to see who can create the most value for investors. (Soon, I'll be asking whether I should re-up for another three years with five new stocks -- stay tuned for details, or weigh in using the comments box below.)

The indexes pitched, rolled, and yawed like an out-of-control aircraft during the week, only to end up having not moved much. The Dow took the biggest hit, down 0.34% following a Senate inquiry into the practices of beleaguered banker Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), which ended the week down more than 5%. The S&P was the other loser, down 0.18%.

Where large caps failed this week, small caps and tech succeeded. The Nasdaq Composite closed up 0.03% while the Russell 2000 added 0.28%, CNBC reports. CKX (Nasdaq: CKXE) helped lead the rally, up more than 27% after Apollo Global Management bid $511 million to acquire the company that owns rights to images of legendary rock and roller Elvis Presley and the popular American Idol franchise.

The week in tech
As all this was going on, and while Microsoft was spending $8.5 billion to acquire Skype, my Motley Fool Rule Breakers teammate Karl Thiel and I were in Silicon Valley meeting with companies on and off our scorecard -- though our primary focus was covering Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) I/O developer conference. Three things struck me:

  • Android, which was the focus of the opening keynote, is the most important Google product right now. Chrome is a distant yet still-important second.
  • Developers don't care about the war of words between Google and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). The majority I saw during I/O and at the Googleplex had Macs to go along with their Android tabs and smartphones.
  • Google hasn't figured out a way to kill Facebook. Not yet, anyway. Neither of the two keynotes at I/O focused on social features of The Big G's services.

Facebook is nevertheless paranoid. This week, Dan Lyons of The Daily Beast wrote a story that describes how the social network has hired PR firm Burson-Marstellar to orchestrate a secret smear campaign against Google. Two ex-journalists -- including former CNBC Silicon Valley bureau chief Jim Goldman -- were involved. Call it a stark reminder of the thin line between change-the-world audacity and blind arrogance.

As investors, we want the former. We want entrepreneurs who dare to dream big and execute even bigger. History tells us that these are the Fools who lead technology shifts that create billions in new stock market wealth.

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.

  • Akamai and Riverbed Technology (Nasdaq: RVBD) teamed up this week, announcing a partnership to share and cooperatively deploy each other's technologies to customers who want to accelerate data delivery from their internal networks out into the public cloud and back again. Integration work should be complete by the first half of next year.
  • On Monday, IBM graciously hosted me at its Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley. Big Blue let me poke around for three hours, but I could've stayed three days. I moved atoms, learned how semiconductor manufacturing informs water desalination, and got an inside look at how venture capitalists use IBM to vet Big Ideas. All in all, it was a confirming visit; I remain convinced that no company is doing more to invent the future than IBM.

There's your checkup. See you back here next weekend for more tech-stock talk. In the meantime, don't forget to keep up with my tech portfolio by adding these stocks to your watchlist today: