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Apple Inc. (AAPL): How T-Mobile Could Push It to New Highs

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Each week, I endeavor to report the results of the Big Idea Portfolio, a collection of five tech stocks that I believe will crush the market over a three-year period. I’ve done it before; my last tussle with Mr. Market ended with me beating the index’s average return by 13.35%.

Real money was on the line then as it is now, which means any one of the five stocks you see below could cause me a lot of public embarrassment. This time Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) took a hit, and that’s despite some really good news from T-Mobile.

At its “Un-carrier” event, the Deutsche Telekom unit revealed a plan that ends subsidies but still allows shoppers to purchase the latest smartphones without much upfront investment.

Specifically, T-Mobile says it will ask customers to kick in an initial deposit on premium handsets and pay the balance over 24 months. Official support for Apple’s iPhone — including the iPhone 5 — arrives on April 12 while LTE service is live now in seven markets. T-Mobile plans to offer LTE coverage for as many as 200 million U.S. customers by the end of this year.

Color me thrilled. T-Mobile’s LTE moves should push incumbent carriers to improve both speed and access on their own networks. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), meanwhile, gets another carrier pushing its iGear at the same premium prices the company has enjoyed for years.

Apple Inc (AAPL)Courtesy: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) Press Info

What’s the Big Idea this week?
Among my five tech stocks, only Riverbed Technology, Inc. (NASDAQ:RVBD) and salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) rallied. Neither move was enough to keep me from losing even more ground to Mr. Market — another 178 basis points, to be specific, as every major index rallied.
This time, the S&P 500 led the gainers with a 0.79% improvement, followed the Nasdaq‘s 0.69% gain, the Russell 2000‘s 0.56% jump, and the Dow‘s 0.46% bump, according to data supplied by The Wall Street Journal. Here’s a closer look at where I stood through Thursday’s close:
Company Starting Price* Recent Price Total Return
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) $416.26** $442.66 6.3%
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) $650.09 $794.19 22.2%
Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX) $41.65 $50.48 21.2%
Riverbed Technology $25.95 $14.92 (42.5%)
Salesforce $100.93 $178.83 77.2%
AVERAGE RETURN 16.88%
S&P 500 SPDR $124.39** $156.67 25.95%
DIFFERENCE (9.07%)

Source: Yahoo! Finance. *Tracking began at market close on Jan. 6, 2012. **Adjusted for dividends and other returns of capital.

Notable newsmakers
Among the other tech stocks making news last week:

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