It's time for a mid-year update of my year-end predictions column -- a column I typically dread writing, because I am usually wrong more than I am right. In my view, a .406 batting average, which the great Ted Williams achieved in 1941, is stellar in baseball, but is not so great when making prognostications.
My editor will yell at me for this, but I'll start off with What I got wrong:
1. Trump won't be GOP nominee, and Rubio/Kasich win the election. Unless there is an event more shocking than Brexit, Donald Trump will be the republican nominee for President, and Marco Rubio and John Kasich (VP) won't have a shot at defeating Hillary Clinton and Evan Bayh (VP) in November. I still think she loses in November, at which point Real Money guru Doug Kass will owe me a steak dinner, but I am already 0 for 2 in political predictions.
1. The Fed raises rates. The Fed won't be raising rates four times in 2016, as I predicted. In fact, it appears doubtful that they'll even get to two. Blew this call, big time.
The Jury Is Still Out
1. Market Volatility. Equity markets have indeed been volatile, although that volatility, as I measure it, slowed considerably in the second quarter, Brexit notwithstanding. I called for the S&P 500 to rise or fall by 1% or more at least two trading days a week on average (or 40% of the time). So far that has occurred about 30% of the time, or 1.5 days a week.
2. Momentum stocks to be repriced. "FANS" stocks Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Salesforce.com (CRM) are about flat for the year. This is certainly not what I'd predicted, but they are underperforming the S&P 500 -- and there is still much time (and volatility) left in the year.
1. Phillies to win Wild Card spot. After an unexpectedly blistering start, the low-expectation Phillies resumed their losing ways, until recently. The team is still playing above their heads, but the odds of them earning a wild card spot, as I predicted, have waned. Still holding out hope though, as any lifelong Phillies fan would.
1. Restaurant underperformance. While restaurants as a whole are underperforming the S&P 500 so far this year, the Big Four --McDonald's (MCD, +3.7%), Yum Brands (YUM, +14.9%), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG, -17.4%) and Darden (DRI, -1.8%) -- are down an average of 0.6%, versus a rise of 3.4% for the S&P.
2. Precious metals to recover. I had silver going to $18 and gold to $1375. Silver spot is now at $20.37 and gold is at $1375. Fellow Real Money columnist Timothy Collins is concerned about silver, and we'll see if he is correct that there may be some trouble brewing.
3. Affordable Care Act -- more cracks to appear. With already high rates set to rise further in some regions next year, many consumers dissatisfied (present company included), and major insurers leaving the "marketplace," it appears that the death spiral has begun.
So maybe it's not quite as bad as I thought, but having blown predictions for politics and the Fed, the best I can do this year is six for nine. I'd settle for five for nine. Back at year end with the final results.