My 2015 predictions: I'll try not to bore you.
Let's face it, everyone on the planet has become a pundit and a prognosticator. What hasn't changed are the odds of being right: most people are terrible at predicting the future. Even professionals.
Given this fact, when asked to make a few guesses for the following year, I try not to be boring. I'd rather swing for the fences than make you yawn.
So here's three predictions for 2015:
First: Russia defaults on its debt.
The Russian ruble has hit an all-time low versus the dollar. Oil has dropped 40 percent; crude oil and petroleum products are half of Russian export revenues. How will they pay for imports? They will default.
I know, it's not 1998, when the Russians last defaulted. Russia is different now. It has more reserves. It is a different country.
Really? I still see the same dependency on oil and other commodities. The big drop in oil and metals was a precipitating factor in the 1998 default.
Second: European stocks will outperform U.S. stocks.
There will be no recession next year in core Europe. The eurozone is stuck in a long-term, slow-and-no-growth environment, but the core countries will not sink into a recession. The euro will remain weak, boosting trade. After a year when expectations were consistently revised downward, European corporate earnings will begin turning around. Deflation will remain an issue.
Third: Google buys Paypal.
Paypal is scheduled to be spun off from eBay sometime in 2015. Won't happen. Google will buy Paypal and combine it with Google Wallet to ward off Apple Pay.
And now... my 2014 predictions: NOT!
Like I said, I go for bold and interesting over safe. That means a high strike-out rate, which I achieved for my predictions in 2014:
1) Forget the Goldilocks recovery. The Fed will INCREASE its bond-buying program in 2014 after its initial attempt at tapering falters. (NOT)
2) Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher resigns from his post mid-year, saying that the Fed is acting irresponsibly by refusing to accelerate the tapering of its bond-buying program (NOPE).
3) Microsoft buys Yahoo and names Marissa Mayer as its new CEO (Very NOT!)
Just trying to have a little fun, folks. Can you do better?