This week the average technology, Internet & telecommunications fund we track rose 4.14%. The Dow Jones U.S. Technology, Telecommunications, & Semiconductor Indexes climbed 5.60%, 4.82%, and 4.42%, respectively, for the five trading days ending Thursday, April 24.
As confidence in the American economy hits a 26-year low on the Reuters/University of Michigan Sentiment Index, gasoline bubbles to about $4 a gallon and real estate requiring long commutes remains depressed. This has consumers cutting back on premium items such as
coffee and restricting purchases to must-have products like
Apple reported 36% higher second-quarter net income topping $1 billion and a 43% bump in sales to $7.51 billion. Its shares gained 9.35% for the period under review.
Meanwhile, by rolling out
high-speed Internet Wi-Fi service at 7,000 locations by year's end, Starbucks may be trying to convince investors that should be valued as a tech stock where customers rent a half hour of Internet usage for each Venti Caramel Macchiato purchased.
The top-performing technology, Internet or telecommunications fund this week is the
Ultra Technology ProShares
, up 9.73%. The fund is 200% leveraged to the stocks of the Dow Jones U.S. Technology Index, while the fourth-place
ProFunds Technology UltraSector ProFund
gained 8.33% on 150% leverage.
Top index holdings include
. Microsoft reported $4.93 billion in quarterly earnings, which missed expectations and lagged the same quarter last year, yet the stock added 8.83% for the week. Another index member,
, advanced 19.58% this week, reporting 25% year-over-year revenue growth in its fiscal second quarter.
The second-place fund,
Ultra Telecommunications ProShares
, is a brand-new, barely traded fund 200% leveraged to the Dow Jones U.S. Telecom Index.
jumped 22.85% while
Time Warner Cable
pulled out of the "Pivot" joint venture, with customers reverting to Sprint mobile-phone plans.
Level 3 Communications
popped 22.77% in a short-squeeze by shrinking its quarterly loss.
PowerShares Dynamic Networking Portfolio
held third place with a return of 8.86%. The holdings making the biggest moves include
, up 28.13%;
PMC - Sierra
, up 26.22%;
, up 12.28%; and
, up 10.15%.
The two worst performing funds are the inverse funds of the two best performers:
UltraShort Technology ProShares
, down 9.12%; and
UltraShort Telecommunications ProShares
, down 8.80%.
On top of losing twice the gains in Broadcom and PMC - Sierra, the
UltraShort Semiconductors ProShares
suffered the 23.30% ascent in
, 22.53% in
, and the 19.00% in
RF Micro Devices Inc
Not only did Broadcom report a great first quarter, with 22% higher net income on 15% higher sales due in part to strong sales of
Wii videogame consoles, but it also issued bullish second quarter revenue guidance. PMC - Sierra also beat analyst estimates on 21% higher sales, as did LSI, with a 42% bigger quarterly top-line figure.
This year AT&T plans to spend nearly $20 billion to speed up the phone line and wireless handset access to the Internet. This can only be good for all technology businesses trying to make money on the net.
For an explanation of our ratings,
Kevin Baker became the senior financial analyst for TSC Ratings upon the August 2006 acquisition of Weiss Ratings by TheStreet.com, covering mutual funds. He joined the Weiss Group in 1997 as a banking and brokerage analyst. In 1999, he created the Weiss Group's first ratings to gauge the level of risk in U.S. equities. Baker received a B.S. degree in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an M.B.A. with a finance specialization from Nova Southeastern University.