The Best (And Worst) Technology Stocks Of 2012

Who's Up? Who's Down?

It was a mixed year on Wall Street for technology stocks. Of 35 companies tracked by CRN, 14 saw their share prices decrease over the course of 2012, including 10 that fell by more than 10 percent. But there were also 15 companies that saw their share price increase by a double-digit percentage, including five companies that jumped more than 50 percent. By comparison, the Dow Jones index increased 7.3 percent in 2012, and Nasdaq was up 15.9 percent. Here's a look at the best and worst tech stocks of the year.

Advanced Micro Devices

CEO: Rory Read
Dec. 31, 2012: $2.40
Dec. 31, 2011: $5.40
Change: -55.6%

AMD shares fell dramatically in July and October after the company reported its quarterly financials. Last November, CEO Rory Read took the unusual step to say the company is not pursuing a buyer.


CEO: John Gacek
Dec. 31, 2012: $1.24
Dec. 31, 2011: $2.40
Change: -48.3%

Shares of Quantum fell 58 cents July 10 after the company reported disappointing financials. It was the last time the company's stock traded above $2 per share in 2012. Shares reached a low close of $1.15 in early December. In recent news, Quantum and object storage technology developer Amplidata formed an OEM partnership last October.


CEO: Meg Whitman
Dec. 31, 2012: $14.25
Dec. 31, 2011 : $25.76
Change: -44.7%

It's difficult to fit all the challenges that HP faced in 2012 into a small space, but the fact that the company ended the year confirming a federal probe of its Autonomy deal could be one reason why HP shares were down almost 45 percent last year.


CEO: H.K. Desai
Dec. 31, 2012: $9.73
Dec. 31, 2011: $15.00
Change: -35.1%

QLogic shares closed as high as $17.99 on March 26, but then joined many companies watching their stocks fall after the first quarter. Shares fell below the $10 mark in mid-October and stayed there through the end of 2012. Meanwhile, last September, the company introduced its "Mt. Rainier" technology that puts high-speed SSD storage on a SAN host bus adapter to allow multiple servers to share their flash-based cache.


CEO: Michael Dell
Dec. 31, 2012: $10.14
Dec. 31, 2011: $14.63
Change: -30.7%

Shares of Dell closed as low as $8.79 on Nov. 16, down 69 cents from the previous day. They crossed the $10 mark in early December and remained there, save for one day, for the remainder of the year. Still, the stock was far off the $14.63 where it opened 2012. Dell held its second annual Dell World last month, where among other things the company said it planned to integrate one of its partner's services into an EqualLogic SAN.

Lexmark International

CEO: Paul Rooke
Dec. 31, 2012: $23.19
Dec. 31, 2011: $33.07
Change: -29.9%

It was a real roller coaster year for Lexmark, which saw its shares close as low as $16.33 on July 24 after trading as high as $36.25 on Feb. 17. In November, the company unveiled a line of what it calls "smart" multifunction printers.


CEO: Joe Taylor
Dec. 31, 2012: $6.07
Dec. 31, 2011: $8.39
Change: -27.7%

Panasonic also saw its shares fall dramatically in the fall, closing at $4.77 on Nov. 5, before rebounding a bit to cross the $6 plateau in late December. But, the company has traded below the $8 mark since early July. In October, the company unveiled the Panasonic Authorized Reseller Program to replace the nine, product-specific partner programs that were previously in place.


CEO: Gene Hodges
Dec. 31, 2012: $15.04
Dec. 31, 2011: $18.73
Change: -19.7%

Websense shares closed above $20 as late as May 2 before beginning a slow descent for much of the rest of the year. The stock closed at $12.97 as late as Nov. 15, but gained a couple bucks back over the last six weeks of 2012.


CEO: Paul Otellini
Dec. 31, 2012: $20.62
Dec. 31, 2011: $24.25
Change: -15.0%

Intel shares had been trading just under $20 per share, and then CEO Paul Otellini said the company's next CEO would likely come from within. Shares jumped back over the $20 mark for the rest of the month.


CEO: Ursula Burns
Dec. 31, 2012: $6.82
Dec. 31, 2011: $7.96
Change: -14.3%

Xerox shares slipped below the $8 mark on Apr. 2, then remained between $7 and $8 per share for several months, and then dropped between $6 and $7 for the last couple months. In early December, Xerox reached a deal with Cisco Systems to be the infrastructure backbone for its managed print services program, a move that would increase service providers' productivity, the company said.


CEO: James McNiel
Dec. 31, 2012: $2.33
Dec. 31, 2011: $2.58
Change: -9.7%

FalconStor shares crossed the $3 mark early in the year, falling below that number in early May and then below the $2 mark in early August before bouncing back a bit. In late June, the company agreed to pay nearly $6 million in fines and penalties to settle a case stemming from bribes allegedly given to JP Morgan Chase executives to expedite the signing of business contracts.

Check Point Software Technologies

CEO: Gil Shwed
Dec. 31, 2012: $47.64
Dec. 31, 2011: $52.54
Change: -9.3%

Check Point's stock declined at the end of each of the last three quarters of 2012, a dubious distinction saved by the fact that it had a dramatic increase ($11 per share) at the end of the first quarter last year. Overall, shares were down just over 9 percent for the year.


CEO: Tom Georgens
Dec. 31, 2012: $33.55
Dec. 31, 2011: $36.27
Change: -7.5%

While NetApp closed the year talking about the growth of its FlexPod integrated product suite, investors weren't thrilled with the company's performance, and shares closed down 7.5 percent for 2012.

Juniper Networks

CEO: Kevin Johnson
Dec. 31, 2012: $19.67
Dec. 31, 2011: $20.41
Change: -3.6%

Juniper spent a good deal of 2012 restructuring the company, moves geared toward removing $150 million in operating expenses. The shakeup included the departure of four executives just a few weeks ago.

Brocade Communications

CEO: Michael Klayko
Dec. 31, 2012: $5.33
Dec. 31, 2011: $5.19
Change: 2.7%

Brocade becomes the first company on the list to show a stock increase for 2012. Shares increased almost 3 percent by the end of December after topping the $6 mark as recently as October. The company is still searching for a replacement for outgoing CEO Michael Klayko.


CEO: Steve Ballmer
Dec. 31, 2012: $26.71
Dec. 31, 2011: $25.96
Change: 2.9%

Microsoft had a busy 2012, releasing its Windows 8 OS and its Surface RT tablet as well as making plenty of other headlines. For its efforts, investors helped increase the company's stock almost 3 percent last year.


CEO: Virginia Rometty
Dec. 31, 2012: $191.55
Dec. 31, 2011: $183.88
Change: 4.2%

IBM shares fell more than $10 per share on Oct. 17 after third-quarter sales fell 5 percent. Shares fell another $8 per share the rest of the year, but the company's stock still closed up 4 percent compared to the end of 2011.

Citrix Systems

CEO: Mark Templeton
Dec. 31, 2012: $65.62
Dec. 31, 2011: $60.72
Change: 8.1%

While some partners might have been grumbling over a perceived drift toward a direct sales push, Wall Street was more impressed. The company's shares increased $5 in December to close the year with an 8-percent increase.

Cisco Systems

CEO: John Chambers
Dec. 31, 2012: $19.65
Dec. 31, 2011: $18.08
Change: 8.7%

After a tough 2011, Cisco bounced back in a big way in 2012, and shareholders took notice. The company's stock increased almost 9 percent last year.

CA Technologies

CEO: William McCracken
Dec. 31, 2012: $21.98
Dec. 31, 2011: $20.22
Change: 8.7%

This month, CA gets a new CEO in Michael Gregoire, who succeeds the retiring McCracken, who has been CA Technologies' CEO since January 2010 and guided the company toward a strong 2012 on Wall Street, with shares up nearly 9 percent.


CEO: Pat Gelsinger
Dec. 31, 2012: $94.14
Dec. 31, 2011: $83.19
Change: 13.2%

VMware lost its outspoken leader Paul Maritz last summer, with Gelsinger taking the reins as CEO. Shares dropped nearly $10 soon after the announcement, closing at $81.78 on July 11, but they crossed the $90 plateau just a couple weeks later and ranged between $85 and $95 for much of the rest of the year. All told, shares increased 13 percent during 2012.


CEO: Joe Tucci
Dec. 31, 2012: $25.30
Dec. 31, 2011: $21.54
Change: 17.5%

EMC made a big midmarket push in 2012 and continues to pull away from other storage vendors. It's perhaps no surprise then that the company's stock increased 17.5 percent last year.


CEO: Patrick Lo
Dec. 31, 2012: $39.43
Dec. 31, 2011: $33.57
Change: 17.5%

While EMC was moving downstream, Netgear and several other companies were moving upstream, upgrading their line with features catering to midrange and entry-level enterprise users. The strategy seems to have paid off as Netgear's stock was up 17.5 percent in 2012.


CEO: Steve Bennett
Dec. 31, 2012: $18.82
Dec. 31, 2011: $15.65
Change: 20.3%

Symantec was another company to part ways with its CEO in 2012. Enrique Salem was out and Bennett took the helm in July after first-quarter earnings fell nearly 10 percent. The company also undertook a reorganization of its global sales team, and there were rumors of a possible breakup of the company. Through it all, Symantec's shares increased more than 20 percent.

Motorola Solutions

CEO: Greg Brown
Dec. 31, 2012: $55.68
Dec. 31, 2011: $45.42
Change: 22.6%

Motorola's stock fell below the $50 plateau in May, but regained it for good on Oct. 26. Its $55.68 close on Dec. 31 was its highest mark of the year. Meanwhile, a former Motorola Solutions engineer was convicted of stealing trade secrets from the company.

Red Hat

CEO: James Whitehurst
Dec. 31, 2012: $52.96
Dec. 31, 2011: $41.29
Change: 28.3%

Red Hat shares jumped over $2 on Dec. 21 after the company posted strong financials and said it had acquired cloud software vendor ManageIQ.


CEO: Larry Ellison
Dec. 31, 2012: $33.32
Dec. 31, 2011: $25.65
Change: 29.9%

Oracle shares were up and down in 2012, but mostly up from a base of $25 earlier in the year. In Late December, the company's thirst for acquisitions continued as the company purchased SaaS specialist Eloqua.


CEO: Tim Cook
Dec. 31, 2012: $532.17
Dec. 31, 2011: $405.00
Change: 31.4%

Apple's stock has been a darling of Wall Street for several years, but not so much in the fourth quarter. Apple closed 3Q at $667.10, losing more than $100 per share over the last three months. Still, Apple investors realized a 31.4-percent increase over the course of 2012. Aside from new products (think iPad mini), Apple scored a big win in its patent war with Samsung.

Western Digital

CEO: John Coyne
Dec. 31, 2012: $42.49
Dec. 31, 2011: $30.95
Change: 37.3%

Western Digital shares jumped more than 37 percent, part of a strong year on Wall Street for drive companies (See No. 1 on this list). In September, the company unveiled a new hard-drive platform in which helium replaces the air inside the drives, pointing the way for many more years of potential development in the hard-drive business.

Lenovo Group

CEO: Yang Yuanqing
Dec. 31, 2012: $18.30
Dec. 31, 2011: $13.15
Change: 39.2%

Lenovo enjoyed a banner year with investors and saw its stock increase nearly 40 percent in 2012. The company's stock had closed as high as $19.06 on May 4 before dropping a couple bucks and then climbing steadily through the end of December. In October, Gartner reported that Lenovo had surpassed HP to become the largest PC maker in the world for the third quarter.


CEOs: Bill McDermott/Jim Hagemann Snabe
Dec. 31, 2012: $80.38
Dec. 31, 2011: $52.95
Change: 51.8%

Last month, adjusted shares of SAP crossed the $80 mark for the first time in the company's history. SAP's stock enjoyed a long, gradual rise in 2012, and the company said in November that one-third of its sales are now pulled through the channel.

CommVault Systems

CEO: N. Robert Hammer
Dec. 31, 2012: $69.66
Dec. 31, 2011: $42.72
Change: 63.1%

CommVault shares were already up more than $10 per share in 2012, and 18 percent in the third-quarter alone, when they jumped almost $9 on Oct. 31, a day after the company beat Wall Street expectations for its third fiscal quarter.

CEO: Marc Benioff
Dec. 31, 2012: $168.10
Dec. 31, 2011: $101.46
Change: 65.7%

Like CommVault, shares were already enjoying a solid 2012 when the company's stock increased almost $13 per share on Nov. 21 after beating third-quarter estimates. During 2012, Salesforce continued to ramp up delivery of its cloud business apps, much to the satisfaction of investors.


CEO: Zach Nelson
Dec. 31, 2012: $67.30
Dec. 31, 2011: $40.55
Change: 66.0%

NetSuite shares pretty much went in one direction in 2012: up. The company's stock was higher at the end of each of the four quarters and finished with an impressive 66-percent uptick for investors.

In early October, NetSuite debuted Two-Tier ERP for Oracle, a package of cloud software that works with Oracle's E-Business Suite applications, and unveiled agreements with IBM and Dell for linking applications.

Seagate Technology

CEO: Stephen Luczo
Dec. 31, 2012: $30.42
Dec. 31, 2011: $16.40
Change: 85.5%

Seagate earns the honor for top technology stock for 2012 with an impressive 85.5-percent increase over the course of the year. Incredibly, it earned the top spot despite experiencing a stock-price decrease in the fourth quarter (from $30.96 to $30.42). Through three quarters, Seagate shares had increased almost 90 percent. Still, it's a noteworthy performance, and the company's stock had closed as low as $24.77 on Nov. 30 before gaining almost $6 per share in December. Last September, Seagate launched Cloud Builder Alliance to target partners building cloud storage solutions.