I went out on a few limbs last December, making nine predictions for 2009. In the spirit of full accountability before I begin whipping out the crystal ball for some glimpses into 2010, I figured I would come back and review the initial four -- and then additional five -- predictions that I made in mid-December last year.
I nailed a lot more than I thought I would, but let's go to the tape to make sure.
1. Yahoo! will trade higher in 2009
Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) was a Wall Street joke last year. The stock wound up losing 48% of its value in 2008, and that came after tanking by 35% in 2006 and 9% in 2007. I'm just adding a little color here to put you back in the struggling search portal's gloomy state when I made my contrarian call.
Yahoo! hasn't necessarily had a blowout 2009 in terms of fundamentals. Profitability may have stabilized, but revenue continues to head lower.
In the end, my call was simply about Yahoo! closing out 2009 higher than it began, and it looks like I will win this one. The stock closed at $15.74 last night, 29% higher than where it was at the end of 2008.
2. Sirius XM won't file for bankruptcy
This also seemed like a gutsy call in mid-December, as even Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI ) CEO Mel Karmazin went on to warn two months later that his company might end up having no choice but to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
Thankfully, it didn't happen. Sirius XM was able to choose between a pair of sugar daddies who provided just enough capital to get back on its feet.
Sirius XM has gone on to push back debt maturities, winning credit rating upgrades along the way. It's a survivor with improving fundamentals.
3. Tech will lead the market recovery
"The one sector that will lead the country out of recession is technology," I wrote last year. "It will be companies like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , which were smoking hot leading into the meltdown, that will regain their sizzle."
I got that one right, too. Apple and Google are up 127% and 93% respectively this year, obliterating the S&P 500's relatively modest 23% ascent this year.
4. Chinese stocks will outperform stateside equities
There have been plenty of winners and losers in China this year, but let's go to the ticker tape where Hong Kong's Hang Seng index is up 52% this year, more than doubling the S&P 500's run in 2009.
The Shanghai Composite -- a better gauge of Mainland China -- is up a whopping 80% year-to-date.
5. Stocks will rise in 2009
This seems like such an easy call in retrospect, but there was still blood running through the streets a year ago. Major banks and auto manufacturers were teetering. There were doubts about the economy's ability to bounce back.
Well, the S&P 500's 23% move -- and Nasdaq Composite's heartier 40% surge -- have silenced the bears. The economy may still be on shaky ground, but stocks clearly rose in 2009.
I guess I'm 5-for-5 at this point. What can go wrong?
6. Oil will rise, gold will fall
Doh! Me and my oil-kissing mouth.
"The economy is so bad that we are not consuming fuel, yet everybody wants gold," I asked rhetorically, pegging a healthy turnaround for sagging oil prices.
A late surge in gold has pushed the precious metal's price 27% higher year-to-date. Crude oil on the other hand began the year at $44.60 a barrel, and its price increase has more than doubled gold's move this year.
Really? I got that one, too? With all of the gold-bug buzz, I figured I had surely messed that one up. OK, so maybe relative performance is a technicality, but I'll take it, of course.
7. Google will beat out gold
I may have been a chump when I chose a share of Google over an ounce of gold four years ago -- when both were barreling toward the $500 mark -- but I nailed it in 2009. Yes, gold has been hot lately, but I already went over Google's scorching 93% return this year.
Really? I'm 7-for-7 at this point?
8. Apple will be OK, with or without Steve Jobs as CEO
Apple has more than doubled this year, so that lays to rest the argument of Apple's performance sans Jobs during his extended medical leave earlier this year.
It looked dicey for Apple a year ago, though. This prediction came at a time when Apple had announced that it would be hosting its annual Macworld powwow and that Steve Jobs wouldn't be spearheading his usually scintillating keynote speech.
Well, both Apple and Jobs appear to be a lot healthier at the end of the year than at the beginning.
9. 2009 will be a consolidation pinata
I don't think I needed ExxonMobil's (NYSE: XOM ) $41 billion deal for XTOEnergy (NYSE: XTO ) this week to clinch this one, but it's a beauty of an exclamation point. I would have also settled for Warren Buffett's biggest purchase ever when he bagged Burlington Northern (NYSE: BNI ) in a $44 billion deal last month.
Consolidation was destined to be a major theme in 2009, as low interest rates drove cash-rich companies to put their idle cash -- and eventually buoyant stock prices -- to good use.
In the end, there may be enough gray areas in my predictions to strip me of a perfect 9-for-9 score. But I'm still arguing that I didn't get any of them completely wrong.
I guess that places a lot of pressure on my crystal ball when I dust it off shortly to make my forecasts for 2010.
What predictions do you think I should make for 2010? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.