2013 prediction recap: Nailed Nikkei, failed HP
Before we look ahead to next year, it's time to revisit this year's predictions with the usual jeers and cheers. If you missed them then, you can click here for a recap.
To summarize: I went 2 for 3.
Here you go.
Wrong: Oracle buys part of Hewlett-Packard
With more than 300,000 employees and countless divisions, I thought HP CEO Meg Whitman would realize that the company is simply too big to succeed and predicted she'd make a splash by dumping the ill-performing assets. She certainly made a splash, but not in the way that I thought. HP surprised nearly everyone this year with an incredible 89 percent gain as of this writing (not enough to keep it from getting booted from the Dow, however). Speaking of HP and Oracle, keep an eye on this: A recent report came out that Oracle is making a multiyear deal to partner up with HP. It's certainly not a sale of part of the company, but at least the two former rivals are now talking and making headlines together.
(More predictions: Amid tech growth, one giant will stumble)
Right: Dow hits record high
My prediction was that the Dow would hit a record high this year, adding it would go "above 14,500." It did, and then some. Record profits, dividend hikes, poor returns on bonds and an improving economy all helped send prices up. That said, I won't fib and say I saw the Dow surpassing even its inflation-adjusted high of January 2000, but it did that, too. And though some will say much of those gains were "fake" and all Fed-induced, I doubt most people sitting on long-suffering 401(k) accounts will care. They're just happy to see the gains however they come.
(More predictions: 6 reasons why 2014 is the year the economy clicks)
Right: The Nikkei will be the top-performing developed stock market in the world
They say even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes. If so, I'm sitting on a pile of acorns. Sure enough, the Nikkei was indeed the best-performing developed market in the world, up nearly 50 percent year-to-date as of this writing. There were a few emerging countries, like Argentina, that did better, but no non-emerging markets. My reasoning was twofold. First, if you believed that our Federal Reserve helped drive up stock prices, then how could you not absolutely fall head over heels in love with Japan? They're going whole hog down the easing road and must weaken the yen to boost exports. Second, if you look at a 20-year chart, reason is that if you take a look at a very long-term chart of the Nikkei, the 8,000 mark has been decent technical support a few times. Looking ahead, I am still bullish on Japanese equities, but nowhere near to this level. People love to chase return, so I think the Nikkei will grab inflows from investors who are only now realizing what kind of a year Japan had, but I would have to have way too much sake to predict another year like this one.
(More predictions: More political drama ahead at the 2014 Olympics)
I hope you all had a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013.
2014 predictions coming right up.