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 Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) would close higher. It closed out the prior week at $509.79, its lowest close since February. The pessimism seemed overdone. It seemed as if I was going to blow it when the stock opened lower on Monday, but the stock quickly recovered and made healthy gains during the first half of the week. Apple gave up some of those early gains toward the end of the week but still managed to close 1.9% higher on the week. I was right.
  • I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . This has been a tricky call lately, but tech bounced back in a big way this week. Nasdaq closed 1.7% higher. The Dow, on the other hand, clocked in with a gain of only 0.4% on the week. I was right.
  • My final call was for Apogee (NASDAQ: APOG  ) to beat analyst profit estimates. The provider of customized glass had blown through analyst profit targets in each of its past four quarters, so momentum was on its side. Wall Street was bracing for a profit of $0.23 a share, and Apogee came through with net income of $0.28. I was right.

Three out of three? Perfect!

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.Baidu will close out the week higher
After nailing last week's call on Apple, let me take another out-of-favor former darling under my wing. Baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU  ) is China's largest search engine, but it has shed more than a third of its value since its springtime peak. The company seemed to be regaining its winning ways last week, topping $100 for the first time in more than a month. Unfortunately, that's when an analyst crashed the party by initiating coverage with a sell rating and an $80 price target.

I remain bullish on Baidu's long-term prospects, and I'm willing to go out on a limb on a short-term prediction, too. I see Baidu closing higher in the final full trading week of 2012.

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. Sirius XM will close out the week lower
I usually save my third prediction for a company that I believe will beat Wall Street's profit targets. However, there isn't a single major stateside-trading company reporting next week.

That brings me to Sirius XM Radio (NASDAQ: SIRI  ) and a little thing called tax-gain selling. I've been warning about tax-gain selling since March. Instead of selling their losers later this month, investors will be selling their winners to lock in that maximum 15% tax rate on long-term capital gains.

Most Sirius XM investors are sitting on some pretty big gains. The stock traded above $3 this past week for the first time in four years. Shares of the satellite-radio provider are up 62% in 2012, making it a lock to close higher for its fourth consecutive year.

As encouraging as Sirius XM's growth prospects are at this point, it wouldn't be a shock to see investors take advantage of the four-year high to lock in their gains at an attractive tax rate before 2013 comes around. Despite my faith in Sirius XM as a solid long-term winner, I do see it closing it lower in the holiday-shortened week ahead.

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

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