Welcome to week 147 of my stock-picking throwdown with Mr. Market. Let's get right to the numbers:


Starting Price*

Recent Price

Total Return

Akamai $22.23 $29.49 32.7%
Harris & Harris $6.22 $4.98 (19.9%)
IBM $122.42** $164.44 34.3%
Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) $22.33** $31.18 39.6%
Taiwan Semiconductor $9.35** $12.72 36%
AVERAGE RETURN -- -- 24.54%
S&P 500 SPDR $119.45** $127.05 6.36%
DIFFERENCE -- -- 18.18

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

Another week, another beating. Mr. Market took another percentage point from me in our three-year contest to see who can create the most value for investors. August can't come soon enough, it seems. (This series kicked off on Aug. 8, 2008.)

Most indexes rallied last week but the Nasdaq, down 1.03%, fell about as much as my five tech stocks. Of the remainder, the Dow snapped a six-week losing streak with a 0.44% gain while the Russell 2000 rallied 0.30% and the S&P 500 eked out a 0.03% gain for the week, CNBC reports.

Investors remain fearful, however. The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, rose to its highest level since mid-March this week before settling at 21.72. History says we should expect more turbulence as a result. But looking back also shows we've been here before. My Foolish colleague Morgan Housel recently took a look at more than 60 years of financial reporting and found 10 quotes that ought to encourage the Nervous Nellies among us.

Moving to the week's top gainers, M&F Worldwide (NYSE: MFW) led small caps with a better-than-50% gain after privately held MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings bid $24 a share to acquire the 57% of the business it didn't already own. A shareholder group has filed suit, claiming the deal amounts to a "lowball" offer, Reuters reported.

Among large caps, shares of outdoorwear specialist Timberland (NYSE: TBL) rose more than 43% when the company accepted a $2 billion buyout offer from VF. The gain amounts to a double for my Foolish colleague Alyce Lomax and her Rising Stars portfolio, which is focused on socially responsible stocks.

The week in tech
Among the digital headliners, IPOs once more led the way with Pandora Media (NYSE: P) taking the stage on Wednesday. The stock debuted at $16 a share, zoomed to $26, closed at $17.42, ended the week at $13.40 and bounced back to $14.40 as of this writing. Talk about a roller coaster.

We'll see plenty more tech IPOs before the summer is out, with both Groupon and Zynga filing S-1s. But the most interesting prospectus I've seen comes from HomeAway, which this week updated its filing to include pricing data. The vacation rentals specialist aims to raise as much as $248 million when it debuts, which could be as soon as next week.

A better market for IPOs means more money for disruptors and bad news for the disrupted. Take Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM), which reported disappointing financial results, and Nokia (NYSE: NOK), which got its best news in months in the form of a mostly meaningless patent settlement with Apple. Both companies could continue to suffer at the hands of well-funded rivals.

Fortunately, there are other ways to profit from the decline of these and other tech incumbents. How so? The same suppliers that help Nokia build handsets are breaking ground in other areas. Littlelfuse (Nasdaq: LFUS) is creating circuit protectors for sensitive equipment like wireless handsets. Rising guidance suggests there's plenty of demand for the company's technology.

These are the sorts of opportunities David Gardner looks for. He produced a decade of 20% returns in the real-money Rule Breaker portfolio by betting on 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:

  • Never one to shy away from a fight, Oracle is now asking for up to $6.1 billion in damages against Google for allegedly infringing the database king's Java patents. (Oracle says The Big G owes for using Java tools and concepts in creating and sustaining the Android mobile operating system.)

There's your checkup. See you back here over the 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:

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is off to see Green Lantern with his two boys. Tim is a member of the market-beating Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock picking team and owned shares of Akamai, Apple, 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 Apple, International Business Machines, Oracle, Google, and Timberland. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Apple, Akamai Technologies, and Timberland, as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is tech-tastic.