Best Tech Stocks in Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is the heart of the technology sector.

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Silicon Valley is the heart of the technology sector. Naturally, you’d assume that shares of the publicly traded tech companies based in such storied California cities as Cupertino, Mountain View and Menlo Park must be producing scorching returns in the current bull market. We set out to determine if that’s an accurate assumption for the biggest and best-known Silicon Valley stocks.

Since “Nasdaq” is synonymous with “tech stocks,” we focused on the Nasdaq-100 Index, home to the largest non-financial stocks listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market by market capitalization. From the onset of the bull market on March 9, 2009, the Nasdaq-100 has delivered a total return, including dividends, of 520%. By comparison, the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has returned 348%.

There are 17 tech companies headquartered in Silicon Valley, a cluster of cities at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, whose stocks are components of the Nasdaq-100. Surprisingly, an investor would have been better served buying an exchange-traded fund that tracks the entire Nasdaq-100 index such as the PowerShares QQQ Trust ETF (QQQ (opens in new tab)), rather than some of the individual tech stocks on this list. Take a look at the winners and losers among the most lauded names in Silicon Valley.

Return data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Prices and returns as of Oct. 4, 2017. Due to the multiple share classes issued by some companies, the Nasdaq-100 Index currently consists of 107 stocks. Market capitalization represents share price multiplied by the number of shares outstanding. Stocks are listed in order of total percent returns during the current bull market, from lowest returns to highest.

Dan Burrows
Senior Investing Writer,

Dan Burrows is Kiplinger's senior investing writer, having joined the august publication full time in 2016.

A long-time financial journalist, Dan is a veteran of SmartMoney, MarketWatch, CBS MoneyWatch, InvestorPlace and DailyFinance. He has written for The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Consumer Reports, Senior Executive and Boston magazine, and his stories have appeared in the New York Daily News, the San Jose Mercury News and Investor's Business Daily, among other publications. As a senior writer at AOL's DailyFinance, Dan reported market news from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and hosted a weekly video segment on equities.

Once upon a time – before his days as a financial reporter and assistant financial editor at legendary fashion trade paper Women's Wear Daily – Dan worked for Spy magazine, scribbled away at Time Inc. and contributed to Maxim magazine back when lad mags were a thing. He's also written for Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievements Awards.

In his current role at Kiplinger, Dan writes about equities, fixed income, currencies, commodities, funds, macroeconomics and more.

Dan holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from Columbia University.

Disclosure: Dan does not trade stocks or other securities. Rather, he dollar-cost averages into cheap funds and index funds and holds them forever in tax-advantaged accounts.