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 on the week. I felt that taking the stage for WWDC 2013 would give the consumer-tech giant the ideal opportunity to win back the market's waning interest in its products. The new cylindrical Mac Pro is cool. The iOS update is a welcome upgrade. There's even hope that iTunes Radio will be a game-changer in streaming. However, the stock actually sold off on the news. I was wrong.
  • I predicted that the tech-heavy Nasdaq would outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average. (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) . This has been a tricky call lately, so how did it play out this time? Well, the market closed lower this week. The Nasdaq moved 1.3% lower on the week, but the Dow managed to close 1.1% lower. I was wrong.
  • My final call was for Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ: ULTA  ) to beat Wall Street's income estimates in its latest quarter. The beauty-salon operator has been posting blowout quarterly results over the past year, and I was banking on seeing the trend continue. Analysts were looking for a profit of $0.62 a share during the quarter, and it came through with net income of $0.65. I was right.

One out of three? Bummer! 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. Rite Aid will close higher on the week
Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD  ) is no longer the laughingstock of the drugstore industry. The pharmacy store chain hit a fresh five-year high on Friday, and things may only get brighter as it steps up to report its quarterly results on Thursday.

Rite Aid has surprised the market with profitable outings in its two most recent periods, and Wall Street sees another healthy profit this time around. Rite Aid has managed to easily surpass market expectations over the past year, so another strong quarter should be more than enough to keep the rally going.

My first call is for Rite Aid shares to move higher for the week.

2.The Nasdaq Composite will beat the Dow this week
Tech has been a big winner in recent years, so betting on tech over stodgy blue chips has been a good bet for me more often than not.

I'm going to stick with this pick. Most of the names in the composite are just too cheap at this point, and tech should be what carries us through the economic recovery. 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.Kroger will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat-out better than others.

Kroger (NYSE: KR  ) is a popular grocery-store chain. Unlike many of its rival supermarket operators that have had to sell off assets or slash their dividends, Kroger has been a steady performer that comes through with annual payout increases.

Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company posted a profit of $0.88 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

Q1 2012

$0.72

$0.78

8%

Q2 2012

$0.49

$0.51

4%

Q3 2012

$0.43

$0.46

7%

Q4 2012

$0.70

$0.88

26%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course.

Grocers operate on razor-thin margins, and wild fluctuations in prices or the inability to pass increases on to end users can sting the bottom line. However, it's hard to argue against the trend. 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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