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 GameStop (NYSE: GME  ) would revise its comps lower for the fiscal year. The video-game retailer has been doing this all year long, so it was a pretty safe bet that the deteriorating state of its retail business would force it to guide the market lower in terms of store-level expectations. Well, GameStop did narrow its range for comparable-store sales for all of this fiscal year, but the midpoint went from a decline of 6% three months ago to a 7.5% slide now. I was right.
  • I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDEX: ^DJI  ) . The market was slammed on the week, and this a was photo finish. Both metrics closed 1.8% lower, so we had to go deeper to the right of the decimal. The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed 1.78% lower. The Dow, on the other hand, shed 1.77% of its value for the week. I was wrong, but just by a nose.
  • My final call was for PetSmart (Nasdaq: PETM  ) to beat Wall Street's profit target. The pet-supplies retailer has been beating the market consistently over the past year, so this one seemed like an easy bet. Sure enough, it was a good call. PetSmart's profit of $0.75 a share was well ahead of the $0.63 analysts were expecting. 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.Best Buy will earn less than Wall Street is expecting
Wall Street's been souring on Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) , and not just because it hit a fresh low on Friday. Three months ago, analysts figured the struggling consumer-electronics chain would earn $0.50 a share in its fiscal third quarter. A month ago that target was down to $0.36. Now those same pros will be fine with a $0.12 profit.

I'm saying it will be even lower. Best Buy came up short in its most recent quarter, and there's been little out of the company's new helmsman to suggest that things are close to getting better.

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 proposition 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. 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. Diana Shipping will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat out better than others.

Diana Shipping (NYSE: DSX  ) is a Greek provider of shipping transportation services. Its fleet of 29 dry bulk containers help ship goods around the world. Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company earned $0.14 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

$0.32

$0.33

3%

Q4 2011

$0.24

$0.25

4%

Q1 2012

$0.20

$0.25

25%

Q2 2012

$0.19

$0.21

11%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course.

There are obvious about the Athens-based company, since investors are rightfully worrying about all things hailing from Greece. However, the global nature of Diana Shipping's business is important. Everything seems to be falling into place for another market-thumping quarter on the bottom line.

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

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