Google added yet another accolade to its impressive performance this year when it landed the top spot in CNNMoney's March Stock Mania tournament Monday.
With 56% of readers' votes, the tech giant beat out Exxon Mobil (XOM), which finished as runner-up for a second year in a row. Last year, Google (GOOG) lost to the oil company in the Final Four of March Stock Mania 2012.
In total, nearly 9,000 votes were cast during the week-long contest that asks readers to pick the stocks they'd rather own.
Google's win comes as the company's stock cools off following a stellar comeback. Shares have soared almost 45% from their 52-week low last June, and hit new all-time highs above $840 this month. Meanwhile, shares of Exxon have nudged up just 3% this year, despite a broad market rally.
While Google trounced all of its opponents in the early rounds, its battle against Apple was a close one. Google advanced with just 53% of the votes, knocking the iPhone and iPad maker out of the final match-up for the first time in March Stock Mania's three-year history.
Of course the Apple vs. Google rivalry is nothing new. The two are fierce competitors in the world of smartphones. Google's Android still dominates, with more than 52% of U.S. market share, while Apple follows, with almost 38%.
The two have also been closely compared on Wall Street. While Goolge's stock has been on a run, Apple's stock has been struggling. Shares of Apple have dropped more than 40% from their all-time high hit in September to a 14-month low earlier this month. While the stock has recovered some ground since, it still has a ways to go before it returns to record territory.
Ford (F), the winner of CNNMoney's first annual March Stock Mania contest in 2011, made it past the first round with a win over Citigroup (C), but lost in round two to Microsoft. However, that's not saying much, considering all the financials went home without a single win. In the first round, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) lost to Chesapeake Energy (CHK), Bank of America (BAC) fell to Boeing (BA), and AIG (AIG) was knocked out by Amazon (AMZN).
So, while hedge funds have once again embraced financials, making AIG their new most widely-held stock, it appears they've still left CNNMoney readers with a bad taste in their mouths.
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