3 Predictions for This Week

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

  • I predicted that Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) would post a loss on Thursday. Analysts at the time were expecting a marginal quarterly profit of $0.01 a share. The consensus worked its way into a small deficit earlier this week, but reality was even uglier. The BlackBerry parent posted an adjusted loss of $0.37 a share on a jaw-dropping 42% drop in revenue. I was right.
  • I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDEX: ^DJI  ) . This was a consistent winning call during the first quarter, but the Dow 30 has won most of the early rounds this quarter. Well, the market was tanking until Friday's heady rally. The Dow clocked in with a gain of 1.9%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq managed to move 1.5% higher. I was wrong.
  • My final call was for Monsanto (NYSE: MON  ) to beat what Wall Street analysts were forecasting on the bottom line in its latest quarter. The agrichemical giant has been landing just ahead of where Wall Street's expectations are perched over the past year. Monsanto's adjusted profit of $1.63 a share surpassed the $1.60 that analysts were forecasting. I was right.

Two 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. IMAX will close out the holiday-shortened trading week higher
It's been a big year for exhibitors. The same poor multiplex operators that were crushed in 2011 have been bouncing back in a big way, and IMAX (NYSE: IMAX  ) has been a major beneficiary. The company behind the supersized cinematic experiences has easily beaten the market this year after shedding a little more than a third of its value last year.

Beyond the momentum in IMAX's favor, The Amazing Spider-Man opens on Tuesday. Sure, it'll open on thousands of traditional screens, but diehard fans will seek out the sensory-laden IMAX screenings and gladly play the modest premium to do so.

The attention will be good for IMAX, even if any press release on the film's success in IMAX will probably wait until the following week. Either way, I see the stock moving higher this four-day trading week.

2.The Nasdaq Composite will beat the Dow this week 
Betting on tech over stodgy blue chips was a steady winning bet for me earlier this year. This has been a losing bet lately, but I'm going to stick with this pick. Most of the names in the composite are just too cheap at this point.

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. Xyratex will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat-out better than others.

Xyratex (Nasdaq: XRTX  ) isn't exactly a household name, but it's a fast-growing player in enterprise storage solutions. This has been a hot sector since PC makers made a push to diversify their box businesses by expanding into data storage and business services. Xyratex has had its ups and downs, but it's making the most of the attention these days.

Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers.

If analysts say that the company earned $0.29 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

Q2 2011 $0.00 ($0.06) N/A
Q3 2011 $0.17 $0.42 147%
Q4 2011 $0.33 $0.73 121%
Q1 2012 $0.26 $0.40 54%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course. The economic recovery could fall apart, taking corporate IT budgets down in the process. We also can't forget that Xyratex did surprise investors -- in a bad way -- with a quarterly deficit a year ago.

However, there are no signs that the company will fumble this quarter to the point of failing to live up to Wall Street estimates. 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.

Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of IMAX and creating a modified stock repair against synthetic long position in Monsanto. 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 insights makes 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 no shares in any of the stocks in this story 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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