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 Tiffany (NYSE: TIF  ) would earn less than what Wall Street was expecting. The upscale jeweler had fallen short in each of the three previous quarters, and reports out of other jewelry retailers weren't encouraging at all. Well, Tiffany's eventual quarterly profit of $0.49 a share was well short of the $0.63 they were forecasting. I was right.
  • I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (INDEX: ^DJI  ) . The market had a mixed showing last week, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed 1.5% higher. Nice! The Dow, on the other hand, rose by a mere 0.1%. I was right.
  • My final call was for Guidewire Software (NYSE: GWRE  ) to beat Wall Street's profit target. The provider of enterprise software solutions for the property and casualty insurance industry had blown through analyst profit targets in each of its first three quarters as a public company, so momentum was on its side. It happened again: Wall Street was settling for a profit of $0.01 a share, but Guidewire scored net income of $0.11. I was right.

Three out of three? Awesome!

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.Mattress Firm will close out the week higher
I've gone 6-for-6 over the past two weeks, and now the pressure's on to keep the streak alive. Let's start with Mattress Firm (Nasdaq: MFRM  ) . The bedding retailer has been making the most of its highly fragmented sector, snapping up smaller players in typically accretive deals. Mattress Firm went public at $19 late last year, and although it's trading nicely higher than that, it's still closer to its low than to its high. That's surprising, since Mattress Firm has blown through analyst income forecasts in its first three quarterly reports as a public company.

The low price and a history of strong quarterly reports should prove a potent combination for capital appreciation this week. My first prediction is that Mattress Firm will close out the trading week higher than where it began.

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

Oxford Industries (NYSE: OXM  ) is an apparel distributor with some pretty big brands in its portfolio. Oxford is the company behind the Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, and Ben Sherman clothing lines.

Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company earned $0.21 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

$0.14

$0.16

14%

Q4 2011

$0.54

$0.61

13%

Q1 2012

$1.07

$1.12

5%

Q2 2012

$0.63

$0.65

3%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course. Fashions can be fickle. Oxford's brand's aren't cheap, either, and that's something that can weigh on any apparel specialist in these cost-conscious times. However, most signs show that the economy is actually on the mend these days.

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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