3 Predictions for the New Week

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

  • I predicted that Greenbrier  (NYSE: GBX  )  would miss Wall Street's profit forecast in its latest quarter. The builder of railroad freight cars and marine barges had come up short in three of its four previous quarters, and I wasn't going to question the trend. That was a mistake. Greenbrier's profit of $1.03 a share blasted past expectations of $0.74 a share. I was wrong.
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average  (DJINDICES: ^DJI  )  had been clobbering the Nasdaq Composite through April and early May, but it's been the other way around in recent weeks. My second prediction was for break from that streak with the Dow beating the Nasdaq for a change. It was wrong to go against momentum. The Dow closed 1.3% higher, but it was no match for the Nasdaq's 2% pop. I was wrong.
  • My final call was for Paychex  (NASDAQ: PAYX  )  to beat Wall Street's income estimates in its latest quarter. The provider of payroll and other human resources services had beaten analyst targets consistently over the past few quarters, and I was banking on a repeat performance. We saw it close out the quarter with a profit of $0.40 a share. Analysts had been projecting net income of $0.40 a share. I was wrong.

Whiffing on all three? Ouch! I had gone 16 for 18 over six previous 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. Netflix will hit another all-time high
Shares of Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) hit an all-time high on Wednesday. An analyst upgrade and a buoyant Nasdaq helped propel the leading premium video service to new heights. It didn't stick. The stock failed to establish a new high-water mark on Thursday.

My first call is for Netflix to climb high enough to establish yet another all-time high. The stock's valuation is lofty, but a fresh slate of proprietary programming and positive momentum should find it move higher before it faces another inevitable correction.

2. The Nasdaq will beat the Dow this week
I thought that the Dow was ready to bounce back after a being outplayed by the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite over the past several weeks. That didn't work out, so I'm going back to picking the Nasdaq. With earnings season around the corner and several new wearable computing gadgets shipping in the week ahead it's a good time to bet on the Nasdaq. My second call is for the Nasdaq Composite to beat the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the week.

3. Wells Fargo will beat Wall Street's earnings estimates
Some stocks are just flat-out better than others. Wells Fargo  (NYSE: WFC  ) is one of the "too big to fail" bankers, making the most of the spread between rates to cash in on lending and traditional banking services.

Another thing it does is make analysts look like perpetual underachievers. If analysts say the company rang up a profit of $1.01 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

Q2 2013

$0.93

$0.98

5%

Q3 2013

$0.97

$0.99

2%

Q4 2013

$0.98

$1.00

2%

Q1 2014

$0.97

$1.05

8%

Source: Thomson Reuters.

Things can change, of course. The housing market is starting to cool after a healthy spike in activity. Wells Fargo's beats have been narrow -- by single-digit percentage margins -- and that can easily come undone.

That's all stuff to keep in mind down the road, but not now. Everything seems to be falling into place for another market-thumping quarter on the bottom line.

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