3 Predictions for Next Week

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

  • I predicted that Sirius XM Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI  ) would close out the week lower. The satellite-radio provider had hit fresh highs, and it has historically taken a brief breather after doing so. Well, it didn't happen. Sirius XM went on to high a new four-year high after preannouncing better-than-expected subscriber growth. I was wrong.
  • I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDEX: ^DJI  ) . This has been a winning call lately, as faster-growing tech stocks outpace the Dow's 30 blue chips. But the market was brutal last week. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed lower every single day, shedding 2.9% of its value. However, the Dow managed to lose just 2.1% on the week. I was wrong.
  • My final call was for JB Hunt Transport Services (Nasdaq: JBHT  ) to beat Wall Street's profit target. The provider of transportation and destination services had landed ahead of the prognosticators in three of its four previous quarters, so this seemed like a smart bet. It wasn't. JB Hunt earned $0.65 a share, just missing the $0.66 analysts were expecting. I was wrong.

Did I really just strike out on all 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.Chipotle Mexican Grill will close out the week higher
I'm a fan of special situations. When there's a disconnect -- especially when a company is unfairly out of favor -- it's a dinner bell for me as an investor.

I see an opportunity with Chipotle (NYSE: CMG  ) when it reports this week. The stock has surrendered more than a third of its value since its springtime peak. Sure, growth has been slowing. However, I think folks fearing that Taco Bell's new Cantina Bell menu are hurting Chipotle are off the mark. Chipotle and Taco Bell aren't substitutes for one another. Fast food and fast casual are entirely different categories. People choose between Taco Bell and KFC or Chipotle and Qdoba.

We'll see how strong Chipotle was this summer when it reports on Thursday. I see a reasonable report, and a positive week for the chain.

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 still think technology is the best sector to be invested in these days.

I'm going to stick with this pick. Most of the names in the composite are just too cheap at this point, and they will be reporting quarterly results in the coming days.

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 as we kick off the fourth quarter.

3.Select Comfort will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat out better than others.

Select Comfort (Nasdaq: SCSS  ) is the company behind the Sleep Number bed that uses adjustable air chambers to deliver customized firmness levels. I know the company well. I enjoyed my Sleep Number bed for years before moving on to new form-fitting mattress last month.

Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company earned $0.40 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

Q3 2011

$0.27

$0.31

15%

Q4 2011

$0.22

$0.27

23%

Q1 2012

$0.40

$0.45

13%

Q2 2012

$0.27

$0.30

11%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course. Even though Select Comfort has beaten analyst projections by double-digit percentage margins consistently over the past year, consumers can decide that they don't want to pay up for premium bedding. There's also consolidation in the mattress space, potentially making Select Comfort's competitors stronger.

That shouldn't matter, though. Everything 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.

Rick Aristotle Munarriz has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Chipotle Mexican Grill. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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