The Best (And Worst) Technology Stocks Of 2010

2010 Wall Street Winners & Losers

Last year was a good year on Wall Street, as the Dow Jones and Nasdaq indices increased 11.0 and 16.9 percent, respectively. But it was an even better year for several technology companies, particularly some application vendors and companies heavily involved in virtualization and data center solutions. On the other hand, 2010 was a tough period for a lot of legacy infrastructure players and industry bellwethers.

Here's a look at some of the tech big winners and losers on Wall Street for 2010:

Brocade Communications

Dec. 31, 2010: $5.29
Dec. 31, 2009: $7.63
Change: -30.7%

Brocade's stock fell more than 20 percent on Feb. 23 after the company missed its earnings estimates and offered a weak 2010 outlook. Brocade also said its Ethernet business, which it picked up with its acquisition last year of Foundry Networks, has yet to meet expectations. The stock never recovered and last November Brocade reported a decline in earnings and said revenue also wouldn't meet expectations for the fourth fiscal quarter.

Western Digital

Dec. 31, 2010: $33.90
Dec. 31, 2009: $44.15
Change: -23.2%

Western Digital shares lost more than $4 per share last January 22 after the company's earnings disappointed investors and then lost another $2.35 on May 18.The stock reached a low of $23.70 in late August before slowly climbing again for the remainder of the year.

On the plus side, in June Western Digital wrested the top spot in hard drive shipments from Seagate, according to iSuppli.


Dec. 31, 2010: $42.10
Dec. 31, 2009: $51.51
Change: -18.3%

Mark Hurd's departure from HP was perhaps the most talked-about IT story of the year. On Wall Street, HP shares fell almost $5 after Hurd stepped down as CEO and they fell slightly again after the company named Leo Apotheker as his replacement.

Seagate Technology

Dec. 31, 2010: $15.03
Dec. 31, 2009: $18.19
Change: -17.4%

Like its hard-drive competitor Western Digital, it was a tough year on Wall Street for Seagate Technology too. In fact, the company has had discussions with a third party about taking the storage company private again.

Cisco Systems

Dec. 31, 2010: $20.23
Dec. 31, 2009: $23.94
Change: -15.5%

Cisco suffered some serious supply chain constraints early in 2010 but CEO John Chambers may also have spooked investors during two quarterly earnings calls, after which the company's stock fell precipitously.

Advanced Micro Devices

Dec. 31, 2010: $8.18
Dec. 31, 2009: $9.68
Change: -15.5%

AMD's stock slide last year may seem bad, but it's not nearly as bad as it seemed during the summer. The processor giant's shares reached a nadir of $5.76 on Sept.1 after hitting a high of $10.16 on April 16.

Meanwhile, AMD said in October that it is looking to build on its edge in graphics technology while still trying to figure out how to capitalize on it.


Dec. 31, 2010: $17.02
Dec. 31, 2009: $18.87
Change: -9.8%

QLogic shares lost more than $3 per share, or 16 percent on July 23 after earnings and sales missed expectations for its first fiscal quarter. Since that point, the company's stock gained some, but not all, of that loss back.


Dec. 31, 2010: $27.91
Dec. 31, 2009: $30.48
Change: -8.4%

Microsoft shares fell more than $3.50 per share during a nine-day span in May, its biggest dip of the year. Last month, the company reported that it had sold 1.5 million Windows 7 smart phone during the first six weeks of availability.

Microsoft also lost some key executives in 2010, perhaps most importantly Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie.


Dec. 31, 2010: $16.74
Dec. 31, 2009: $17.89
Change: -6.4%

Symantec shares dipped as low as $12.34 in August and have slowly started increasing since that time, but not getting back to the point they started at the previous year.

During the year, Symantec made several notable acquisitions, including PGP and Guardian Edge last April and then VeriSign Security a month later.


Dec. 31, 2010: $13.55
Dec. 31, 2009: $14.36
Change: -5.6%

Like a lot of companies, Dell's stock reached its 2010 low in late August, bottoming out at $11.59 on August 24. The company made several acquisitions in 2010, but the one that drew the most attention was one it lost; 3Par, to arch rival Hewlett-Packard.

Wall Street was also probably not impressed by the $100 million penalty it paid to settle a suit with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding its financial practice.


Dec. 31, 2010: $14.10
Dec. 31, 2009: $14.35
Change: -1.7%

Panasonic released its latest 3D televisions and upgraded its line of notebooks, but it still wasn't enough to impress Wall Street investors as its stock fell almost 2 percent for the last 12 months.

Lenovo Group

Dec. 31, 2010: $12.70
Dec. 31, 2009: $12.35
Change: + 2.8%

Lenovo posted a modest stock gain in 2010, up less than 3 percent, but it was still better than its PC rivals HP, Dell and Panasonic. Lenovo suffered a big channel loss last year when Jay McBain stepped down to take a job at Autotask.

Late in the year, Lenovo launched a line of three new multimedia notebooks.


Dec. 31, 2010: $21.03
Dec. 31, 2009: $20.40
Change: + 3.1%

Intel made its biggest news in August when it agreed to purchase McAfee for $7.68 billion, a move that was not met well on Wall Street. Intel's shares dropped 69 cents that day and more than $1 more over the next two weeks, bottoming out at $17.53 on Aug. 31. It didn't top the $20 mark again until late October.


Dec. 31, 2010: $50.61
Dec. 31, 2009: $46.81
Change: + 8.1%

Last November, SAP was ordered to pay $1.3 billion in damages to Oracle for stealing software and copyrighted material from Oracle support Websites. Wall Street hardly noticed. SAP shares briefly fell below the $50 mark, but were back over that mark by midDecember.

CA Technologies

Dec. 31, 2010: $ 24.44
Dec. 31, 2009: $22.46
Change: + 8.8%

CA's shares fell below $20 in May and reached a low of $17.96 on Aug. 31 before climbing past the $20 mark for good just a couple weeks later. CA made news in 2010 for its big cloud-computing spending spree, making six acquisitions in that space.


Dec. 31, 2010: $146.76
Dec. 31, 2009: $130.90
Change: + 12.1%

IBM made 15 acquisitions in 2010, which appears to have pleased investors as the company's stock increased 12 percent last year.

The company also reorganized itself to bring software and hardware businesses under a single executive, Steve Mills.


Dec. 31, 2010: $46.31
Dec. 31, 2009: $40.57
Change: + 14.1%

McAfee shareholders got a big boost in August when the company agreed to be acquired by Intel for $7.68 billion. The company's stock jumped from $29.93 to $47.01 the next day. During a COMDEXvirtual panel, Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini pledged the company's commitment to McAfee's brand and business model.


Dec. 31, 2010: $20.25
Dec. 31, 2009: $17.46
Change: + 16.0%

Websense shares took a roller coaster ride in 2010, fluctuating between $17 and $25 throughout the year. Luckily for the company, the year ended on a crest with its stock up 16 percent compared to the same period last year.

Of course, we'd like to think Wall Street was impressed by CRN Test Center's review Websense's Hosted Security last September.


Dec. 31, 2010: $9.07
Dec. 31, 2009: $7.76
Change: + 16.9%

Motorola shares increased nearly 17 percent by the end of 2010, just days before the company split into two new companies: Motorola Mobility Holdings and Motorola Solutions.

CommVault Systems

Dec. 31, 2010: $28.62
Dec. 31, 2009: $23.70
Change: + 20.8%

CommVault shares jumped almost $3 per share on August 23 thanks to the bidding war between for 3Par between Hewlett-Packard and Dell. Unfortunately just over a month before that shares fell nearly $5 per share after the company posted weak earnings.

In September, CommVault said it planned to expand its Simpana 8 data protection software with new cloud storage capabilities, including an interface for the Rackspace cloud, integration with Mezeo's cloud service, and a new storage appliance with Dell.

Compellent Technologies

Dec. 31, 2010: $27.59
Dec. 31, 2009: $22.68
Change: + 21.6%

Compellent shares jumped more than $6 per share in late October after the company posted strong earnings. The stock then jumped another $5 per share to $33.65 in December after Dell said it was in talks to purchase the company, but shares fell from that height after Dell said its bid would be $27.75 per share.


Dec. 31, 2010: $3.72
Dec. 31, 2009: $2.93
Change: + 27.0%

Quantum shares closed at as little as $1.25 on Aug. 20, but crossed the $2 plateau and $3 mark in October, thanks to a buy rating from one analyst firm and solid earnings results. The stock kept climbing after that, ending the year with a 27 percent gain. Earlier in the year, Quantum rolled out some dedupe appliances for SMBs.


Dec. 31, 2010: $31.30
Dec. 31, 2009: $24.53
Change: + 27.6%

It was a busy year in 2010 for Oracle, beginning last January when the company finally closed the Sun Microsystems deal announced eight months prior. But Oracle might have garnered more headlines after hiring ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd and announcing that longtime No. 2 executive Charles Phillips was leaving the company.

Oracle investors also got good news in November when a judge awarded the company $1.3 billion from SAP for a copyright infringement suit.


Dec. 31, 2010: $22.90
Dec. 31, 2009: $17.47
Change: + 31.1%

EMC stock was like a snowball rolling down a hill, it started the year small and kept getting bigger as 2010 wore on. Late in November, the company spent $2.25 billion on Isilon Systems to fortify its high-end NAS line.

Lexmark International

Dec. 31, 2010: $34.82
Dec. 31, 2009: $25.98
Change: + 34.0%

Lexmark shares were trading at more than $47 as late as October, but dropped $10 on Oct. 26 after the company announced a weak forecast for growth and CEO Paul Curlander said he planned to retire this spring.


Dec. 31, 2010: $11.52
Dec. 31, 2009: $8.46
Change: + 36.2%

Xerox shares fell below the $10 mark in May and didn't hit that figure again until the fall, still its $3.06 jump for the year was a 36-percent increase for 2010. Last February, Xerox closed its deal to buy Affiliated Computer Services and create a $15 billion services giant.

Check Point Software Technologies

Dec. 31, 2010: $46.26
Dec. 31, 2009: $33.88
Change: + 36.5%

Check Point shares dipped below $30 in May and June, but slowly built a head of steam that lasted until the end of the year. The company saved its best for last too. The $46.26 close on Dec. 31 was a 52-week high.

Juniper Networks

Dec. 31, 2010: $36.92
Dec. 31, 2009: $26.67
Change: + 38.4%

Juniper is another company's stock that only seemed to slowly increase almost every week throughout the year.

In late November, the networking giant acquired Trapeze Networks for about $152 million.


Dec. 31, 2010: $5.92
Dec. 31, 2009: $4.15
Change: + 42.7%

Unlike many companies, Novell's stock didn't get a big boost when it announced it would be sold to Attachmate for $6.10 per share or $2.2 billion. The stock was already trading at close to $6 per share at the time. The big jump came on March 3 when it jumped to $6.08 from $4.75 after getting a $2 billion offer from private equity firm Elliott Associates.

Red Hat

Dec. 31, 2010: $45.65
Dec. 31, 2009: $30.90
Change: + 47.7%

Red Hat shares fell to $27 last February and didn't cross the $30 mark for good until June. But after that, the shares climbed significantly, including by $3+ on Sept. 22 after beating Wall Street estimates for its second fiscal quarter and raising its outlook for the rest of 2010. In November, Red Hat started shipping the next generation of its flagship Linux operating system.


Dec. 31, 2010: $322.56
Dec. 31, 2009: $210.73
Change: + 53.1%

Apple might be the most-written about company at CRN, and its been a darling of Wall Street for many years too. Where to begin to recap 2010? It all started last January when Steve Jobs introduced the iPad and changed the face of computing.


Dec. 31, 2010: $33.68
Dec. 31, 2009: $21.69
Change: + 55.3%

Netgear shares had already enjoyed a good year when the company's stock jumped more than $3.50 per share on Oct. 27 after the company reported strong net income and revenue. Last July, Netgear unveiled its ReadyNAS home storage system to much fanfare.


Dec. 31, 2010: $25.00
Dec. 31, 2009: $15.98
Change: + 56.4%

NetSuite had already had a good year on Wall Street when shares increased $2.46 per share on Sept. 17 after the company said it planned to add 150 jobs. For channel partners, the news was even better six weeks later when NetSuite said it would leave more service opportunities for partners.


Dec. 31, 2010: $54.96
Dec. 31, 2009: $34.36
Change: + 60.0%

NetApp's shares took a big leap during a two-week stretch in September when shares jumped from $41.91 to $49.67, a period in which NetApp and Oracle agreed to dismiss their patent lawsuits against each other and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison hinted that he liked NetApp's business.

Citrix Systems

Dec. 31, 2010: $68.41
Dec. 31, 2009: $41.61
Change: + 64.4%

Citrix shares jumped nearly $10 per share on July 29 after strong earnings and an analyst upgrade, and shares increased another $10 the rest of the year to close 2010 with a 64-percent increase in stock price. With data center and virtualization on the minds of almost every CIO and VAR, Citrix is sitting pretty.

Dec. 31, 2010: $132.00
Dec. 31, 2009: $73.77
Change: + 78.9% had two key days during 2010 in which its stock increased almost $20 per share (Aug. 20) and more than $20 per share (Nov. 19). When you get that—and haven't had any precipitous declines—it's going to be a pretty good year. The November increase came after a strong third-quarter earnings report and CEO Marc Benioff said it would offer a free version of its Chatter social networking software.


Dec. 31, 2010: $88.91
Dec. 31, 2009: $42.38
Change: + 109.8%

At this point you can almost ask, "Did virtualization make VMware or did VMware make virtualization?" Either way, it should come as no surprise that with the rise of the virtualized data center, VMware was the No. 1 star on Wall Street this year among tech companies featured here. The company's stock more than doubled in 2010 (and oh, by the way, it's increased another $5 per share in the first week of January 2011). CEO Paul Maritz was also chosen as CRN's No. 1 most influential executive of the year too.