5 Tech Leaders and Laggards

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Tech stocks are on a tear this year, boosting the Nasdaq over 13% since January. The tech-heavy composite is also nearing 3,000 -- a milestone it hasn't reached since the bubble days of 2000.

Nasdaq gains have outpaced increases from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which has jumped 6% this year, as well as the S&P 500 which has risen 8%.

Social gaming specialist Zynga , for example, has been one of 2012's key rebound stocks, surging nearly 38% this year thanks to largely to its partner Facebook. Unsurprisingly, tech behemoth Apple is another of the sector's leaders as the gadget giant scales new heights.

But not every tech company has benefited from this year's tech rally.

Here are five tech leaders -- and laggards -- for 2012.


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While shares of Zynga suffered following its December IPO, the social gaming firm has rebounded in 2012.

Zynga shares are up nearly 38% this year thanks in large part to Facebook, which revealed in its S-1 filing that the FarmVille maker comprises 12% of its revenue.

Zynga's gains come despite concerns that its core business -- selling virtual goods through its games on Facebook's platform -- isn't growing fast enough. The company is trying to diversify its business by expanding into mobile through titles such as the addictive Scrabble-like game Words With Friends. It also announced a recent deal with Hasbro to develop toys based on Zynga titles.

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Shares of Coinstar have jumped 27% so far this year thanks to better than expected earnings and a slew of announcements intended to push the company into competition with Netflix .

Coinstar, owner of the Redbox movie rental kiosks, said in early February it had acquired NCR's rival DVD business for $100 million. It also announced a partnership with Verizon to launch a new streaming service in the second half of the year that will compete with Netflix, Amazon , Hulu and others.

Besides its coin counting machines and video kiosks, Coinstar is also looking towards diversifying its business into coffee. The company, in partnership with Starbucks , is piloting machines that dribble out $1 cups of coffee.

First Analysis Securities Company raised its price target on Coinstar last week to $68 from $57.

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Apple, which represents nearly 11% of the Nasdaq composite, is one of the standouts so far this year. The iPhone maker's stock is up 26% since January as shares topped the elusive $500 benchmark earlier this month -- just six months after hitting $400.

Since the death of company co-founder Steve Jobs, shares of Apple have added $100 billion in market cap, the potential equivalent of social networking phenomenon Facebook.

Apple shares may edge even higher in the latter half of 2012 as the iPad 3 is announced, as well as a smaller more affordable iPad.

Apple's gains, however, come at a time of increased scrutiny on working conditions at the company's supplier network in China.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 3 Tech Stock Leaders portfolio on Stockpickr.


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Shares of Dell slumped 6% on Tuesday after missing fourth-quarter earnings estimates as the PC maker recovers from hard disk drive shortages.

Several investment banks, including Needham and Citigroup, cut ratings of the company in response.

Dell is struggling as it tries to shift away from its dwindling consumer business and towards higher margin businesses like enterprise services, storage and cloud computing.

BMO Capital markets lowered its price target on Dell to $20 from $22 and said it may need the onset of Windows 8 to help support margins in the company's PC business.

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Shares of Amazon have lagged behind the Nasdaq composite, rising 6% since January.

The e-commerce company missed fourth-quarter revenue expectations last quarter due to soaring shipping and fulfillment costs as investors worry about the effect of new business investment on margins.

While Amazon is aggressively increasing its number of fulfillment centers across the globe in an attempt to speed up delivery times, it remains unclear how long it will take the company for these investments to pay off.

The company's return on invested capital -- a way to determine how efficiently the company has allocated its capital to generate returns -- also fell to 22% during the fourth quarter from 34% a year prior.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 2 Tech Stock Laggards portfolio on Stockpickr.

--Written by Olivia Oran in New York.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/Ozoran.

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