Last year I made 10 predictions for 2013. Some were bolder than others. As always, I promised to review these at the end of the year and give myself a score card. The first five predictions made on December 11, 2012 were:
1. U.S. GDP growth would remain tepid in the first half of the year, before picking up to a near 3% rate during the second half.
2. Stocks will be very volatile in January and through the first quarter, but thereafter should regain their upward momentum to allow the S&P to gain about 6% in 2013.
3. Average gasoline prices in the U.S. will rise above $4.50 by Memorial Day.
4. Europe will remain in recession for most of the year, ultimately forcing a Greek exit from the currency zone.
5. Housing drops again, after banks release a large chunk of their foreclosure inventory onto the market. This should be temporary.
By my count I’m 3.5 for 5.
In fact, I was modest in my first two predictions: U.S. GDP growth grew 3.5% in the third quarter and the S&P has gained 26.40%, year-to-date.
Gasoline did not rise as I expected and national average for gas prices Memorial Day 2013 were about the same as the 12 months prior, $3.66/gallon (although they did spike to all-time highs in the Midwest and California due to refinery outages). The current U.S. average is $3.28/gal.
Europe did remain in recession for most of the year, although after much speculation Greece didn’t exit (the so-called “Grexit.”)
The median home price did plunge mid-year before rising again by 12.8% in October from a year ago.
My first five predictions for 2014 are:
1. The Fed will continue Quantitative Easing (QE) at an annual pace of $750 billion through the year.
2. Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) will remain below 2%.
3. The unemployment rate will drop to 6.5% by year-end.
4. The S&P 500 will gain more than 10% for the year. [My target for the S&P is 2,000, which would be a gain of 10.95% from today’s 1,802.62.]
5. European equities will outperform the S&P 500 (in local currency)
Stay tuned for my next five predictions; as I said last year, these are my predictions and do not represent what I think should happen or what I want to see happen, rather a reflection of my expectations.