Top tech stocks of 2013: Here’s where you could have made (and lost) a lot of cash

wallstreet-shutterstock_92699377

Wall Street photo via Shutterstock

2013 was all about the newcomers. Two of the top performing tech stocks in Washington state this past year were some of the newest arrivals on Wall Street.

Tableau Software and Zillow  — both of which have completed IPOs in the past three years — each saw their stock prices increase by more than 100 percent in 2013. They also both boast market values of more than $3 billion, representing a new class of tech companies in the region.

The top performer of the bunch? Zillow, the online real estate company, posted a stock gain of 198 percent in 2013.

Of course, the Seattle area still is very much known for two huge powerhouses: Amazon.com and Microsoft.

And both had very good years on the stock market. Under the direction of long-term thinking Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s stock gained 62 percent as the company continued to distance itself from rivals in the e-commerce arena and carve new ground in areas such as tablets and cloud computing. Meanwhile, Steve Ballmer’s retirement announcement injected some enthusiasm into Microsoft’s stock, which finished the year up 40 percent.

Two stocks disappeared from the markets after acquisitions, with Clearwire finally getting gobbled up by Sprint and Market Leader selling to Trulia for $355 million. And struggling Motricity vanished after its stock was consumed by New York-based mobile advertising company Voltari in April 2013.

But three new companies emerged in the public markets with IPOs: Tableau, NanoString and Zulily.

Here’s a look back at the performance of some key tech stocks in the region. Which ones do you think are poised for a breakout 2014?

Amazon.com

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9".

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos with the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″.

Can Amazon ever slow down? Following 2012′s impressive 45 percent stock gain, the Seattle online retailer and cloud computing powerhouse followed it up with another huge gain, rising 62 percent. Wall Street loves Jeff Bezos and co., and some are saying the stock can go even higher, with analysts at Citi just setting a new price target of $457. Is it still “day one” for Amazon? Some think so, with venture capitalist Bill Gurley saying at the GeekWire Summit in September that Bezos is the most respected person in technology today

2013 close: $398.71, up 62.6 percent, $181 billion market value. 

The Blucora team ringing the opening bell on Nasdaq last summer

The Blucora team rings the opening bell on Nasdaq.

Blucora

Another strong year for Blucora, which has continued to diversify beyond its InfoSpace search business. In 2013, the company purchased Monoprice for $180 million, making a big move into online retail. That followed its 2012 acquisition of TaxAct for $287 million.

2013 close: $29.09, up 90 percent, $1.1 billion market value.

Blue Nile

bluenileThe online jewelry retailer continued to boost sales under the direction of CEO Harvey Kanter, who was picked for the top post in March 2012.

2013 close: $47.09, up 24.9 percent, $595 million market value.

Bsquare

A rough year for Bsquare as the company cut its staff by 20 percent and its longtime CEO resigned. Even so, the stock was up by 25 percent.

2013 close: $3.58, up 25 percent, $41 million market value.

The Concur team at their HQ grand opening

The Concur team at their HQ grand opening

Concur

Concur moved into new offices in downtown Bellevue in 2013, part of its continued expansion plan. The company also is riding high after securing a deal to provide travel and entertainment expense reporting tools to the U.S. government.

2013 close: $103, up 54 percent, $5.7 billion market value.

Cray

Seattle supercomputer maker Cray was the top tech stock in 2012. And while it didn’t achieve that status in 2013, a 75 percent stock gain is nothing to sneeze at.

2013 close: $27.46, up 75 percent, $1 billion market value.

dataioData i/O

Data i/O, the longtime Redmond tech companies, was one of the worst performers in 2012. But the maker of hat makes device programming and IP management technologies for the wireless industry came back in 2013, boosted in part by an increase in net income and revenue during the third quarter.

2013 close: $2.57, up 63 percent, $20 million market value.

Dendreon

Yet another bad year for Dendreon, following 2012′s lackluster performance. The Seattle maker of the prostate cancer drug Provenge has been rumored to be looking for a buyer. It cut another 150 positions in November, reducing its workforce to 820 people. Dendreon was the worst performer among the companies we looked at.

2013 close: $2.99, down 42 percent, $478 million market value.

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi

Expedia

Expedia took it on the chin in July, with shares plummeting more than 25 percent to $46 after the company encountered second quarter “headwinds.” But things turned around for the Bellevue online travel giant, and it actually finished the year on an up note.

2013 close: $69.66, up 17 percent, $9.1 billion market value.

F5 Networks

The maker of networking equipment and software saw its third straight stock market decline, taking a big hit in July when the stock sank to $68.50. The stock was down 8 percent in 2012.

2013 close: $90.86, down 5.5 percent, $6.9 billion market value.

google3Google

While technically not a Washington-state headquartered company, Google is boosting its presence in the state at its Kirkland and Fremont operations.

2013 close: $1,120, up 60 percent, $372 billion market value.

Marchex

The online advertising and mobile call tracking technology company was one of the worst performers in 2012, falling 34 percent. But it regained those losses, and then some, in 2013 even as some top execs left the company.

2013 close: $8.65, up 116 percent, $330 million market value.

ballmer2Microsoft

In a tumultuous year for Microsoft, the stock performed well, jumping more than 40 percent. That included a healthy uptick after Steve Ballmer announced his retirement in August.  In 2012, the stock gained just 2.9 percent.

2013 close: $37.41, up 41 percent, $310 billion market value.

Microvision

There were more problems for Microvision in 2013, which received a delisting notice from the Nasdaq in December. The stock has been in a spiral for years, losing 90 percent of its value in the past five years.

2013 close: $1.32, down 32 percent, $38 million market value.

nanostringNanoString Technologies

Another one of Seattle’s recent companies to go public, NanoString priced its shares at $10 in June, and promptly fell back to $8.06 on the first day of trading. The stock stumbled at first, but it came roaring back at the tail end of the year.

2013 close: $17.24, up 72 percent, $245 million market value.

Rob Glaser

Rob Glaser

RealNetworks

Founder Rob Glaser continues his effort to reinvent and reposition the company, but the new strategy has yet to take hold on Wall Street. In the past five years, the stock is down 46 percent. RealNetworks posted a $31.4 million loss during the third quarter of 2013, though Glaser said at the time that company was making progress.

2013 close: $7.55, up 3 percent, $277 million market value.

tableauTableau Software

A newcomer to the land of public stocks, the Seattle maker of data analytics software performed well after its blockbuster IPO in May on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock, which trades under the symbol DATA, priced at $31 per share, and never looked back.

2013 close: $68.93, up 122 percent, $4 billion market value.

Zillow

Rascoff

Zillow’s Spencer Rascoff

The Seattle online real estate company continued to defy the odds, performing well on Wall Street as it attempted to distance itself from rival Trulia through an advertising campaign and a big switch to mobile. (Trulia, which purchased Kirkland-based Market Leader in 2013, saw a 119 percent gain in its stock). Zillow was the top tech stock in Washington state. No wonder that CEO Spencer Rascoff likes to say that the company is in “hyper-growth mode.”

2013 close: $81.73, up 198 percent, $3.25 billion market value.

zulilyZulily

The flash sale site arrived on Wall Street with a bang, pricing its IPO at $22 per share and opening at $39.40 in November.  We’ve yet to see a company grow at a pace like Zulily, which is moving into the old RealNetworks office space on Elliott Avenue. It posted annual sales in 2012 of $331 million, outpacing even Twitter.

2013 close: $41.43, up 88 percent, $5.4 billion market value

Previous year-end coverage on GeekWire“The year in quotes: From Ballmer to Bezos to Bitcoin.”Top 50 posts of the year: Here’s what you were reading in 2013

  • http://www.bytheseacommunications.com Gaby Adam

    Great overview, John! Much appreciated. And Happy New Year to all you kind people there at GeekWire.