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 SINA (Nasdaq: SINA  ) would close higher on Thursday. The leading Chinese Internet portal was set to report its quarterly results on Wednesday night, and I figured a strong report and encouraging monetization news on SINA Weibo would fuel a bullish reaction. The stock moved higher on Thursday after a strong report. 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 it's been hit-or-miss during the past few months. The market had a strong week, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq surging 1.8% higher. The Dow managed to gain only half as much, closing out the week with a nearly 0.5% gain. I was right.
  • My final call was for Myriad Genetics (Nasdaq: MYGN  ) to beat Wall Street's profit target. The developer of high-end tests to assist medical professionals in diagnosing ailments has been landing ahead of market profit expectations consistently over the past year. Well, Myriad's quarterly profit of $0.34 a share merely matched analyst expectations. I was wrong.

Two out of three? Not bad!

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. Barnes & Noble will post a wider loss than Wall Street's expecting
Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS  ) reports its latest quarterly results on Tuesday. The bookseller has struggled to turn a profit on its fledgling Nook business, and many avid readers who used to flock to the chain's superstores are now content with downloading their favorite books.

Analysts see Barnes & Noble losing a whopping $1.00 a share for the quarter. That's a lot, but I'm saying it's going to be a larger deficit. There's little reason to believe that its e-reader business is getting any closer to profitability, and slashing the prices across its tablet-based Nooks as the company did this past weekend hints at weak sales at previous price points.

Barnes & Noble has also come up short far too often over the past year. There's little reason to turn the page and expect this chapter to be any different.

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. It's been a smart move again this month, and I'm going to stick with it.

Most of the names in the composite are still pretty cheap at this point. The market is ripe for the tech-stacked secondary stocks to continue to outpace the 30 mega-caps that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and that's my second prediction.

3. Qihoo 360 will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat-out better than others.

Qihoo 360 (Nasdaq: QIHU  ) is a leading Chinese provider of Internet and mobile security software solutions. The company's spectacular growth in the past has attracted fans, but also some well-placed skeptics who think the company's numbers are too good to be true. Some cynics argue that Qihoo 360 is overstating the success of its anti-virus solutions and market-leading Internet browser in China.

Qihoo 360 has stood by its numbers. Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company earned $0.17 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 $0.06 $0.11 83%
Q3 2011 $0.10 $0.16 66%
Q4 2011 $0.15 $0.20 33%
Q1 2012 $0.18 $0.21 17%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course. The cynics may prove to be right. It also bears noticing that the gap between Wall Street targets and where Qihoo 360 actually lands has been narrowing with every passing quarter. In other words, the market's starting to figure this one out.

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 SINA and writing puts on Barnes & Noble. 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. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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