Charles Payne

On the first part of the journey
I was looking at all the life
There were plants and birds and rocks and things
There was sand and hills and rings
The first thing I met was a fly with a buzz
And the sky with no clouds
The heat was hot and the ground was dry
But the air was full of sound.

-America

The year 1985 saw the beginning of a new dawn in technology, which would see the exploitation and evolution of a defense department project, develop into the worldwide web - the Internet. Building out the pipes and tools to take advantage of this super-information highway sparked a wave of innovation that was eventually reflected in the stock market. It was a heady time to be sure, which brought about terms like "paradigm shifts" and the dreams of a world of riches for everyone.

It was a modern-day gold rush, and the only way to quell excitement was for it to all crumble in a burning crash, which continues to reverberate to this day. For the stock market, there were several names that played critical roles as the backbone for this "next tech revolution," and these names were commonly referred to as the Four Horsemen of Technology. Investors that got in these names early saw multi-thousand percentage returns from trough to peak.

MSFT +9,500%
DELL +97,950%
INTC +6,100%
CSCO +96,150%

However, it is no wonder that at some point every single person in the United States has had a vision of becoming rich, and perhaps buying his or her own island. The Four Horsemen of the last tech revolution were real companies, and to this day they continue to mint money, even if top-line growth has slowed. Still, none of these companies have seen their shares rebound to the old all-time highs, which brings us to the question of today's tech leaders and where they are in the cycle. Ramping up for a multi-year rally that ultimately brings back visions of riches for all? Or ramping down having peaked before fundamentals could match the hype?

Four Horseman 1999

Internet & Telecom

Microsoft

MSFT

Dell Computers

DELL

Intel

INTC

Cisco

CSCO

January 1990

$0.60

$0.06


Charles Payne

Charles V. Payne is a regular contributor to the Fox Business and Fox News Networks. He is also the Chief Executive Officer and Principle Analyst of Wall Street Strategies, Inc. (WSSI), founded in 1991 which provides subscription analytical services to both individual and institutional investors.