3 Predictions for the New Week

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

  • I predicted that Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) would close higher on the week. The fast-growing company behind the only electric car turning heads these days has been one of this year's hottest stocks, and it had hit new highs after delivering a surprising profit a week earlier. Despite the positive momentum, I thought the stiff valuation warranted a breather -- at least for a week. The stock fell 7% 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, so how did it play out this time? Well, this wasn't a good week for stocks. The Nasdaq moved 2.2% lower, and the Dow managed to close 1.6% lower. I was wrong.
  • My final call was for Brocade Communications (NASDAQ: BRCD  ) to beat Wall Street's income estimates in its latest quarter. The provider of networking data storage solutions has been posting blowout quarterly results over the past year. I was banking on seeing the trend continue. Analysts were looking for a profit of $0.12 a share during the quarter, and it came through with net income of $0.19. The stock soared on the blowout report. 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. Pandora will close lower on the week
The market's turning up the volume on Pandora (NYSE: P  ) these days. The leading music-streaming service is growing, and analysts are generally upbeat about the music-discovery platform. Shares hit another 52-week high on Friday as it gears up to report its latest quarterly results on Thursday.

I'm a little more concerned about the near term. Pandora's metrics in recent months haven't been encouraging. Growth has been slowing, and the average user is listening less. Naturally, this isn't necessarily awful for Pandora. It's merely shaking off the freeloaders who used to tune in a lot and cost the company more in music royalties than it was making off those users through ad revenue.

Pandora's revenue can grow, and it probably will report a healthy boost in premium subscriptions. However, the stock has run up so high in anticipation of a blowout report that it makes a sell-off after the results are released possible.

My first call is for Pandora to close lower on 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. Yes, earnings reports have been rough in some places this season, but the long-term outlook is still quite favorable. 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. Hewlett-Packard will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat-out better than others.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ  ) is the world's largest maker of personal computers. That may not be the best place to be at the moment, but with a smaller rival eyeing privatization, and other players scrambling to make a dent in the growing smartphone and tablet markets, it does create an opportunity for HP's underestimated non-PC businesses to shine.

Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company posted a profit of $0.87 a share in its latest quarter, I'll argue that it held up better than that. 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 2012

$0.98

$1.00

2%

Q4 2012

$1.14

$1.16

2%

Q1 2013

$0.71

$0.82

16%

Q2 2013

$0.81

$0.87

7%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course. Cynics will argue that $0.87 a share isn't a victory after HP earned $1 a share during the same period a year earlier. Margin pressure on the PC side could also squeeze profits from the tech bellwether's more resilient businesses.

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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  • Report this Comment On August 18, 2013, at 7:53 PM, EllenBrandtPhD wrote:

    Rick, re Pandora, to me, this may be what counts:

    % of Shares Held by Institutional & Mutual Fund Owners: 101%

    % of Float Held by Institutional & Mutual Fund Owners: 105%

    Number of Institutions Holding Shares: 180

    Those Who Rule the Market very much want to distribute some to the next tier of Institutions. In other words, it needs to be more widely held.

    And in order to do this, they will try to make Pandora as attractive a proposition as possible. Meaning if there is any way they can slant the Propaganda both before and after results as Bullish, they will.

    Its Bears clearly hate this one. But in a Blah to Negative Market, where "Story Stocks" temporarily have the edge, let's see what happens.

  • Report this Comment On August 19, 2013, at 12:36 AM, dknuth1 wrote:

    Try 1 for 3, how exactly does you saying tesla will rise then tesla falling 7% equal you being right? You're picks are just coin flips anyway. Why don't you try something meaningful like predicting the size of moves rather than just have a monkey spin a roulette wheel for you.

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