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 Veeco Industries (NASDAQ: VECO  ) would post a larger loss than analysts were expecting. The provider of process equipment solutions that assist the making of LEDs, flexible OLEDs, power electronics, hard drives, MEMS, and wireless chips has been disappointing investors by cranking out wider deficits than Wall Street's been forecasting over the past year, and I figured the unwelcome trend would continue. Wall Street was settling for a loss of $0.33 a share, and Veeco sported $0.42 a share in red ink. I was right.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) seemed vulnerable after bouncing back in recent weeks. I figured it was due for a breather, calling for the index that tracks 30 leading blue chips to head lower on the week. The Dow slipped 0.3%. I was right.
  • My final call was for LifeLock (NYSE: LOCK  ) to beat Wall Street's income estimates in its latest quarter. The leading provider of identity theft monitoring for consumers has been routinely beating Wall Street projections over the past year. I was banking on a repeat performance. LifeLock closed out the quarter with an adjusted profit of $0.22 a share. Analysts had been banking on net income of $0.21 a share. I was right.

Three out of three? Awesome! That makes me a slick 16 out of 18 over the past six weeks.

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. ZELTIQ Aesthetics will move higher on the week
ZELTIQ Aesthetics (NASDAQ: ZLTQ  ) has turned skeptics into believers with its CoolSculpting machines that arm dieticians and dermatologists with machines that freeze off fat cells to help reduce love handles.

Some folks swear by it, and others complain, but ZELTIQ has now completed a million procedures, and growth is accelerating. Early in 2013, ZELTIQ was targeting just 10% in revenue growth for the entire year. That went on to become 20% -- then 40% -- before settling at growth of 46% when ZELTIQ revealed preliminary fourth-quarter results last month.

Well, ZELTIQ reports on Tuesday, and while one can argue that last month's preliminary results already revealed the good news, CoolSculpting's accelerating popularity suggests that the outlook for 2014 should be positive.

My first call is for ZELTIQ to close higher for the week.

2. The Dow will beat the Nasdaq for this week
I routinely picked the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite to beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average, and it was a winning call more often than not. However, the market's vulnerability after a strong February finds me switching gears and going with the stodgy Dow blue chips this week.

My second call is for the Dow Jones Industrial Average to outperform the Nasdaq Composite on the week.

3. SINA will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat-out better than others.

SINA (NASDAQ: SINA  ) is one of China's longest trading Internet stocks. It has the country's social-media darling in SINA Weibo, but it also has a vibrant portal and dabbles in several other related niches.

Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company posted a profit of $0.46 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

Q4 2012

$0.05

$0.13

160%

Q1 2013

($0.04)

$0.02

150%

Q2 2013

$0.12

$0.21

75%

Q3 2013

$0.32

$0.42

31%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course. China can always crack down on casual Internet usage. There have also been initial challenges in monetizing the voluminous traffic that SINA Weibo is generating. However, analysts see profitability more than tripling during the period, and that kind of bullishness may seem problematic if it hadn't easily trounced expectations in the past.

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. In the meantime, how about three stock ideas for the long haul? It's no secret that investors tend to be impatient with the market, but the best investment strategy is to buy shares in solid businesses and keep them for the long term. In the special free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich," The Motley Fool shares investment ideas and strategies that could help you build wealth for years to come. Click here to grab your free copy today.


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