3 Predictions for This Week

I went out on a limb last week, and now it's time to see how that played out.

  • I predicted that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) would close out the week higher. After temporarily blasting through the $600 billion barrier in market capitalization nearly two weeks ago, the stock has been retreating. The shares initially climbed higher earlier this past week, but then the sellers crashed the iParty again. The stock fell a little more than 5% on the week. I was wrong.
  • I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDEX: ^DJI  ) . It's been a strong year so far for tech stocks relative to the more diversified blue chips that make up the 30 Dow components. Well, the past week wasn't kind to Apple in particular or tech stocks in general. Nasdaq delivered a 0.4% loss on the week, but the Dow managed to climb 1.4% higher. I was wrong.
  • My final call was for Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS  ) to beat what Wall Street analysts were projecting on the bottom line in its latest quarter. Well, the premium-mattress company behind the Sleep Number air-chambered beds came through with a profit of $0.45 a share. Margin concerns and a weak report later in the week by one of its rivals hurt the stock, but the market was expecting net income of only $0.40 a share. I was right.

One out of three? I can do better than that!

Let me once again whip out my trusty, dusty, and occasionally accurate crystal ball to make three calls that may play out over the next few trading days.

1. Netflix will close higher on Tuesday
Do you remember all of the Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) bashers who were threatening to cancel their subscriptions during last summer's pricing change? They weren't bluffing. Netflix took a brutal hit in subscribers during the third quarter of last year.

Where's the outrage from the couch potatoes now? Netflix resumed growing its streaming subscribers during the holiday quarter, and there's little reason to see that trend changing now. Yes, it's a lot easier to kill a streaming service than the company's original disc-based service. It's also a lot easier to go through a queue when the next title is a click away. However, Netflix hate has -- for the most part -- faded.

We already know that Monday afternoon's report will be gloomy. Analysts see a loss of $0.27 a share. Netflix told us several months ago to expect a deficit. All of the negativity is baked in, opening the door for a well-received report that will drive the stock higher when traders return on Tuesday morning.

2.The Nasdaq Composite will beat the Dow this week 
Betting on tech over stodgy blue chips has been a steady bet for me all year. It hasn't gone my way these past two weeks, but why change now?

The market is ripe for the tech-stacked secondary stocks to continue to outpace the 30 megacaps that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

3. Crocs will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat-out better than others. Crocs (Nasdaq: CROX  ) is a company that many associate with the fashionably dubious resin shoes in gaudy colors that seemed to come and go in popularity. The company oozed faddishness, and eventually the once-highflying stock came tumbling down in a sea of inventory woes.

The Crocs story didn't end there, though. Crocs became a global powerhouse, and many of its shoes are pretty stylish these days.

If analysts say that the company earned $0.26 a share in its latest quarter, I'll whip out a "greater than" sign. History's on my side!

One of my best tricks to beating the market is finding stocks that perpetually land ahead of the prognosticators. Let's go over the past year of earnings reports.

Quarter

EPS Estimate

EPS

Surprise

Q1 2011 $0.20 $0.24 20%
Q2 2011 $0.44 $0.61 39%
Q3 2011 $0.32 $0.33 3%
Q4 2011 $0.04 $0.06 50%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course. Footwear fashions can be fickle. The economy can turn, and suddenly no one wants to spend money on new shoes. Then again, it's hard to bet against a company that has been beating the market's lowballing ways. Everything still seems to be falling into place for another strong quarter on the bottom line.

Three for the road
Well, there are three predictions right there. Let's see how I fare this week.

If you like to stay on top of what happens next -- and I'm guessing you do, because you're reading this article -- how about checking out The Motley Fool's top stock for 2012? It's a free report, but only for a limited time, so check it out now.

The Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Select Comfort, Netflix, and Apple and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He owns shares of Netflix and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.


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