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After Stellar 2013, Will Tech Stocks Swell or Swoon in 2014?

Snapchat that.

Roger McLassus

There’s no question that 2013 was a mighty fine year for tech stocks in general and in particular.

Up, up, up went the shares of a large number of companies, as I noted last week. Facebook leaped 111 percent. Yahoo — with a major assist by China’s Alibaba Group’s rising valuation — up more than 107 percent. Google up 60 percent. AOL up 58 percent. Amazon up 63 percent. Microsoft — imagine that! — up almost 41 percent.

And, though Twitter swooned in the last days of the year, it still was up 42 percent overall for 2013.

As I noted last week, even companies in trouble saw giant improvements, with daily deals site Groupon up more than 146 percent for the year and gaming company Zynga up 63 percent.

The upward trend has some investors worried that a downturn will follow, especially as some startups receive valuations of many billions of dollars without much, if any, revenue. Some in 2013 have compared the situation to the Web 1.0 bubble, 15 years ago, when many subpar companies went public.

Perhaps, but others note that things are different now, with more robust consumer acceptance, a mobile explosion and stronger business models. One report noted that there were only a handful of IPOs in 2013 compared to the nearly 100 in 1999.

There are a number of big public offerings expected this year — including Alibaba, Box and Dropbox, among many — that will test investors’ appetite for more Web issues and the burgeoning reach of its companies.

As Robert Peck of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey noted in a recent report: “As we laid out in our industry investment thesis earlier this year, we think the Internet will be disruptive to many industries beyond what we’ve seen till today,” pointing to some key trends in the upcoming year.

Among them: Transportation transforming, local commerce personalization and the “Blossoming of the Ephemeral Graph.” In other words, the year of Snapchat.

This article originally appeared on

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