1st Annual Louis Rukeyser Memorial Market Prediction Contest 2013 results, and my forecast for 2014


Louis Rukeyser

 Well now, this is a bit embarrassing.

Early last year I published a bit of satire titled How to be a Stock Market Guru and get on MSNBC. Basically I mocked the idea that anyone can predict the short-term market and laughed at those who claim they can. Just as one of my financial heroes, Louis Rukeyser, used to do on his weekly TV program Wall Street Week.

Every January Rukeyser would have each of his guests predict the market’s high, low and close for the year.  I forget his exact line, but after the predictions were in he’d say something like, “…with the understanding that even these exalted experts could be wrong, there you have it.”  And he’d wink knowingly into the camera.

Come the following December he’d salute those who’d come closest and chide the goats.

In that post, in his honor and in his lighthearted spirit I decided to do the same, introducing the jlcolllinsnh.com 1st Annual Louis Rukeyser Memorial Market Prediction Contest. 

Then, after all this emphasizing of how silly such predictions are, I went and won the damn thing myself. At least on the high and close picks. In fact, my prediction for the high, at 1825, was a scant 24 points/.013% off the actual high of 1849. Doesn’t get much more precise than that.

Now any talking head TV stock market guru who came anywhere close to my level of accuracy would be, modestly of course, loudly attributing it to their remarkable wisdom and bathing in the glory. All the while encouraging the belief that they’ll be able to reliably do it again and you should buy whatever it is they are selling. Most likely the fund they manage or the advice they offer.

Here at jlcollinsnh we strive to be a bit more honest. The truth is, very simply, I got lucky and there is no reason to think my predictions for 2014, provided for your entertainment below, will come anywhere close to duplicating those of 2013.

If there is value to be found on this blog, it isn’t in my short-term market prediction skills, “short-term market prediction skills” being an oxymoron and all. It is in, hopefully, providing some perspective on how the market tends to behave long-term and how to successfully invest in it for that long-term.

OK, enough of that. As promised last year let’s get on with saluting the winners and chiding the goats.


Poor goats. Always on the edge.

We’ll start with me.

In that post last January my predictions for the S&P (which incidentally closed 2012 up around 13% at 1426) in 2013 were:

High: 1825
Low: 1312
Dec. 31st, 2013: 1754

The market actually posted these results:

High: 1849
Low: 1457
Dec. 31st, 2013: 1848

What’s interesting here is that the low was reached on January 8th, just five trading days into the year. The high was on December 31st. This reflects an increase of about 29.5% in a relentless and almost smoothly straight climb up. I certainly didn’t predict that. Nobody did.

Interestingly VTSAX, the fund I favor for wealth building, was up about 33% for the year. The reason it did better being it holds small cap stocks in addition to the large caps of the S&P 500. Small caps tend to outperform in bull markets and 2013 was certainly a bull. But before you rush out and switch to a small cap fund, be warned they tend to get crushed further in the Bears.

While my predicted close of 1754 fell short, it was still impressively close and good enough to also snag the #1 spot in this year’s contest.

My 1312 low was way too bearish and didn’t even finish in the top three.

So how did my participating readers do? There’s praise to be given and goats a-plenty:

Reader RW was the only person more bullish than I and came within a whisker of beating me with a predicted high of 1875. That’s only 26 point off; very impressive:

High 1875
Low 1300
Close 1525

Good call there on the high, RW. On the low and the close, not so much. 😉

RW offered no reasons for the numbers but instead said: “Good to see you back safe and sound. Thank God the Mayan’s got it wrong!” The first referred to my end of the year 2012 travels and the second to the widely touted alleged Mayan prediction the world would end in December 2012. Maybe they’d have done better predicting the market.

RobDiesel finished in the money on all three counts saying:
I sat down to polish my pecuniary crystal ball and came up with this.

We’ll touch 1801, won’t drop lower than 1422 and close out the year at 1653.

His high came in at #3, his low at #1 and his close at #2. I’d say that makes him our overall winner! Keep that ball polished Rob!

My pal Shilpan also did well, finishing in the money twice. He said:

I am also bullish on the market.

High: 1675
Low: 1403
Dec. 31st, 2013: 1630

His low was good for #2 and his close came in at an admittedly distant #3.

Mind = Blown was the third least bearish on the low at 1385 and that got a #3 finish. Not bad for what seemed to be a bit of a half-hearted participation:
Hey, just posting here because I have a question, but I’ll hazard a guess. I work in the DC area and we are all terrified of the fiscal cliff – not that most of us would actually lose our jobs, the government is too afraid to produce cuts that would hurt anyone – so I’m a bit pessimistic. My guesses hedge quite a bit on what happens, and I know that we’ll have another non deal that will make everyone happy for a little bit. So I’ll say we’ll hit a high of around 1600 when that deal hits, hit a low of about 1385, and close the year at about 1475. Not very much volatility, but I really have no idea what I’m doing, and am mostly going off last year, the recent jump, and random thoughts.

No worries M=B, when it comes to this market predicting stuff none of us really have any idea what we’re doing.

So bearish was Mortgage Mutilator only a number for the low was offered:

My prediction is either stagnate or a drop due to all the issues of the debt you guys have. I reckon this will prompt the government to pull out some new harsh policies that will slow everything down.

I predict about 1400 at the end of this year :-)

Opps. But, as we’ll see, not by far the biggest “opps”. Better luck this year, MM!

The Mad Fientist jumped in first asking:

What are the chances of someone from Vermont actually winning this thing??

High: 1616
Low: 1361
12/31/13: 1555

Well, with predictions like those MF, not much. 😉

Still, as I said in my introduction to his guest post, this is a guy worth listening to. Just not about where the stock market is going.

Estate attorney Prob8 is a regular commentator around here and has become our resident death-taxes-probate-estate planning resource. He even has a guest post on the subject. He said:
Here’s my 2013 guess:

Low: 1326
High: 1646
Close: 1540

My guess is we should listen to him about that death-taxes-probate-estate planning stuff. On the stock prediction stuff, not so much.
Good luck next time, Prob8!
My pal Tom writes about travel and wine over at vinoexpressions. He declined to offer his own numbers but was pretty convinced I was wrong:

Sounds optimistic – but there’s not much room left but to climb upward.

We’ll invite Tom to try to do better this year, but for now we’ll only trust his grape related insights.

The New Mexico Lobo expressed shock at what seemed to be unfounded and rampant optimism run amuck:

What? Only two bears??? In the spirit of Marty Z. here goes…
Hi: 1530
Low: 1160
Close 12/31/13: 1210
I hope that I’m the big loser on this one!

As were we all Mr Lobo!

And you got your wish: The title of biggest loser in our little contest for 2013.

But as your consolation prize you’ve earned your official spot as the Marty Zweig spiritual heir around here. Zweig being the frequent Rukeyser Wall Street Week guest who was always relentlessly and deeply “worried about this market.”

Zwieg was even right once in a while. Maybe one day you will be too. 🙂

Finally, we have smedleyb. I’ve put smedleyb last not because he was completely wrong, although he was, but because he provided a great idea for this contest:

Before I post my predictions, I would like to request a guest blog spot for a week if my unscientific guesstimate proves to be uncannily accurate. Fair? lol.

That said: 1550 SPX, (by March), 1250 SPX (by September) 1325 SPX by December 31.

Yes, the months too. (I don’t mess around with my market forecasts!)

But jokes aside, the market will definitely be lower by the end of year. And you can take that prediction to the bank (of Greece).

Ah well. What you lacked in accuracy my good Mr. smedleyb, you made up for in confidence! Good thing you had that Lobo guy to keep you out of the dog house. 😉

But while his predictions came up short, smedleyb’s idea of a guest post prize is a definite winner. Since this is my site and I get to make the rules around here, I’m going to declare two winners:

RobDiesel not only took the #1 spot for the low, he nailed #2 for his close and was bullish enough to be over 1800 for his high, good for #3. An in the money sweep and deserving of the win! Well done, Rob!

 RW for his extraordinarily bold prediction of 1875 for the high. His was the only one more bullish than mine and it came within a measly two points of snatching victory from my grasp. That deserves a win in my book.

OK, guys, to claim your prize do so in the comments below and let us know what your topic will be. Of course, we’ll all also be anxious to see what you’ll forecast for 2014 so a year from now we can laugh at you for being wrong!

For those of you that were wrong this year, there’s no reason you might not redeem yourself for 2014 if you’ve the courage (foolishness?) to try again. We’ll be waiting to mock you yet again if you fail. Heh.

Don’t feel bad. In all likelihood, you’ll get to mock me too. Here are my 2014 predictions:

High: 2218
Low: 1806
Dec. 31st, 2014: 2125

Clearly, I continue to be very bullish, but I don’t expect as strong a gain as 2013 or the same smooth uncorrected rise.  I see it continuing its sharp rise into 2014 followed by a 15-20% correction from those new heights before settling into a very handsome gain for the year.  Here’s why:

Since the Spring of 2009 we have been on a slow, grinding climb back from the brink.  Corporations have cut expenses to the bone and have accumulated formidable amounts of cash.  Balance sheets remain exceptionally clean.  I expect the pace of recovery to continue to accelerate as the market senses that stock prices will continue to build on the 13%+ increase they posted in 2012 and 2013’s 29.5% increase.  A rising market tends to attract capital and continue to climb. At least until it doesn’t. 😉

The correction will be triggered by some bit of unsettling news. Market players will suddenly look around and seeing how far and fast the rise has been they’ll pull back sharply. But it will be short as the stronger positive forces reassert themselves.

Gee, reading that it almost sounds like I know what I’m talking about and really can divine the future. Don’t you believe it. And certainly don’t take any of this too seriously.  My crystal ball is just as cloudy as everybody else’s.

I’m certainly not changing my investment allocation and strategy based on any of this nonsense and you shouldn’t either.  As Mr. Rukeyser would gleefully point out, past results are no indication of future performance and even I can be wrong.  As I’d point out, I most often am.  We’ll see come next New Year’s Eve.

But a little bit of nonsense is fun once in a while. If you agree or just think you can do better than those that stepped up to the challenge last year, I invite your participation. Please follow the format I used above, and in the comments section clearly state your call for the 2014 high, low and close along with a few lines as to why. That last will help me in mocking you when you turn out to be wrong and in praising you in the unlikely event you turn out to be right. 🙂

Finally, thanks for your readership and support of this blog!

Happy new year

May Your 2014 be Healthy, Prosperous, Free and filled with Joy!

And on your journey remember:

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

Jack Canfield

Note — January 10, 2014: Contest Closed

With 7 trading days and the first full week of trading done, it makes sense to officially close our little contest to new entries.  After all, late entries have an advantage. Theoretically anyways. Mostly we have had a large enough response that it already looks to be a larger chore than I expected tracking all this to determine the year end winners and losers. Ah well. That’s a year from now.

The market closed today at 1842, down from the year end’s 1848. Essentially flat and unexciting.  Some believe the first week of January is a predictor of what the year will look like overall. If so, both our Bulls and Bears have got it wrong. We’ll see!


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  1. Reepekg says

    High: 1986
    Low: 1735
    Dec. 31st, 2013: 1937

    I cracked open some owl pellets and divined the above. Also, I expect more of a blah year after big gains in 2013. I completely agree with your investing philosophy, but I do enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching the “experts” blow smoke out of their orifices on CNBC now and again. It all started when I won a stock market game run by a major newspaper (beating 5 investment experts) at age 15 by picking companies that most closely resembled the names of girls I dated or had crushes on.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Owl pellets!

      Damn. Why didn’t I think of owl pellets.

      Ah well. Might as well call the contest now… 😉

      Oh, and if I had picked companies based on the names of girls I had had a crush on, the list would have exceeded the S&P 500…. 🙂

  2. Reekwind says

    I’m expecting a more volatile year as the economy recovers and businesses start investing more aggressively and silicon valley continues to boom.

    High: 2380
    Low: 1311
    Dec. 31st, 2013: 2100

    • jlcollinsnh says

      You really are calling for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride there, Reekwind. Your low is about the lowest and your high very close to the highest.

      Your comment discribes what will drive the high, but what will trigger the low?

  3. Done by Forty says

    High: 2301
    Low: 1609
    Dec. 31st, 2013: 2198

    Though I really should have gone the other way with it. If I predict a market disaster and it happens, at least I can bask in the victory of a correct prediction, and maybe get to be a talking head somewhere…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      I can see us both now, DbyF, basking in that victory in the warm sun outside our cardboard box homes…. 🙂

  4. Fatchance says

    I am not going to miss out on posting my guess this year. Not sure why I chickened out last year. Being overly optimistic as always, I see the market with a slow steady climb this year spurned by some certainty out of Washington with the budget deal. My friend from Australia said if the US would just end the month to month crisis we were going through a while back, that money would pour into the market. I do not think anyone wants to waste political capital threatening another shutdown over the upcoming debt ceiling. With some sense of smooth sailing into the 2014 elections I see:
    High 2100
    Low 1830
    End 2088.24
    Side note: Wolf of Wall Street is an awesome movie. DeCapprio has lunch with a seasoned investor/boss who explains how investment houses work. It lines up perfectly with your post on why you do not like financial advisors. They get commissions and you get soaked. Wishing you a great 2014 Jim!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Or maybe you were just showing good sense. 😉

      “Wolf” in in my Netflix queue.

      Have a wonderful ’14 yourself!

  5. RobG says

    Sounds like a fun idea! I’ll post my irrational optimism and see how it works out.

    Low: 1800
    High: 2400
    Close: 2400

    Yes, I’m predicting that 2014 will be much like 2013. The major financial channels will finally move from skepticism to outright stating “We have been in a bull market since 2009!”, the Fed will further taper down to $40b per month, boosting confidence in the economy. They also give up on the debt ceiling debate, concluding that it should just be unlimited, rather than waste time raising it every few months. Innovation will abound, with many new technological breakthroughs. Unfortunately, Warren Buffett will pass away, but he will leave billions upon billions to the Gates Foundation, which will set the stage for alleviating poverty for millions of people, who will be the driving force for rising sales, thus the bull market of subsequent years.

    As long as we’re making these predictions, might as well go big or go home! Did it sound convincing? 😉

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Very convincing, Rob…

      …but I’ll still stick to my boring old allocations. 😉

      Hope you are right on the market and I’ll bet you are wrong on Buffett. I think he’s one of those guys that will push 100.

      Love your concept that reducing poverty will drive sales and markets. Works for me!

  6. Linda says

    High: 2220
    Low: 1700
    Dec. 31st, 2014: 2100

    From the outstanding results of the stock market this year, we can predict that the only way it can go is up in 2014! Everyone and their grandmother will be piling into the stock market anticipating the juicy inevitable returns, which will take it up by at least 20% at the high. A small correction will leave the market at a close of 2100. Our recommendation is to buy-buy-buy! [/humor]

    I’ll leave you with words from the great Warren Buffet – “Don’t be fooled by that Cinderella feeling you get from great returns”.

    We’ll be squirrelling away to our Vanguard investments regardless of what the market does – but I wish all the best for a happy and successful 2014 for all Jlcollinsnh readers! 🙂

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Ha! Beware of shoe shine boys giving stock tips!

      From http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Great_Depression

      “In the winter of 1928, Joe Kennedy decided to stop to have his shoes shined before he started his day’s work at the office. When the boy finished, he offered Kennedy a stock tip: ‘Buy Hindenburg.’ Kennedy soon sold off his stocks, thinking:
      “”You know it’s time to sell when shoeshine boys give you stock tips. This bull market is over.””

      Here’s to a prosperous 2014 for us all!

  7. earlyretirementsg says

    LOL, I totally don’t believe in market prediction. But oh well for the fun of it. And if there are enough people posting, one of us will get it right and make one of us a finance guru. LOL.

    I’m expecting global economy gets better with the stronger USD thus spurring American spending in other countries or increased American purchases of raw materials for more secondary production within America, creating more jobs and jump starting the American economy.

    High 2200
    Low 1700
    End 2180

    • jlcollinsnh says

      I like the way you think, ersg.

      I have no idea if you’ll be right, but I like the way you think! 🙂

  8. Carnac says

    High 2133
    Low 1585
    End 1585

    Why? No idea – other than nobody else so far has predicted that it will be a losing year. And going with the Buffettism of “Be fearful when others are greedy…..” a bull market has to end at some time and this one is getting long in the tooth.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Well if someone named “Carnac” can’t get it right… 🙂

      Interesting that you, like Rob above, that the year’s close will match the high or low for the year as it did for ’13.

      As far as I know, this past year was the first time that has ever happened…

      But if it does, I hope the matched set is with his highs rather than your lows. 😉

  9. Pura Vida Nick says

    High: 2084
    Low: 1808
    Dec. 31st, 2014: 2029

    Jim, in your 2014 prediction you wrote Dec. 31st, 2013 (not 2014) for this upcoming year! Time to start getting used to writing out a new year! (so did the first three commentators/predictions)

    My reasons for the above predictions: it’s fun to win stuff. My crystal ball simply says I may get lucky, and that’s the only reason I would win anything. I don’t know about the market, but I’m very optimistic for my personal life for 2014. Bring it on!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Good catch! Thanks and it is now corrected. I was hustling to get this post up on the 1st….

      Here’s to a happy and healthy and prosperous New Year. May your optimism be rewarded!

  10. George Hahn says

    I’m proud to follow in the footsteps of Marty Z.!
    High: 2032
    Low: 1478
    Close: 1663
    I hope that I can hold on to my coveted crown!!

  11. RW says

    Happy New Year everyone!
    After consulting the tea leaves because my crystal ball is a bit cloudy after New Years Eve. Here goes:
    High 2180
    Low 1680
    End 2050
    I think the debt limit issue will be resolved. There will be some type of scare for the market this year. Who knows what, but fear seems to get the best of us, then runs with it.
    Perhaps a crop failure or a digital breakdown causing a panic for a short while.
    I’m in for the long haul no matter what happens. Thank you Vanguard for the great year, Go VTSAX!
    Wishing everyone a healthy New Year!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      One of our 2013 winners returns!

      Again, this time your high of 2180 is even closer to my own of 2218; separated by only 38 points. May one of us be right!

      Are you planning to claim your prize and write a guest post for us?

        • jlcollinsnh says


          Of course you could also take the cash value if you prefer.

          Let’s see now…

          multiply by 6, carry the 3, divide by 12, times the 29.5% market increase less costs…

          ….comes to just about….


          Your call. 😉

    • jlcollinsnh says


      Live in NYC! That’s the trick then?

      Combined with owl pellets, what could go wrong? 🙂

      Hope you are right. Your 2402 just edges out Rob’s 2400 for the highest prediction so far….

  12. Frankie's Girl says

    I knew next to nothing about investing this time last year. I spent most of this year reading lots of blogs and learning what I could… but I still have a ways to go. So of course I had to jump in with my “expertise” on this one, and the tarot cards show:

    High 2440
    Low 1777
    End 2432

    I think it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but overall it’s going to be another good year.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Wow, FG….

      Love your bullishness and I’d love a 2432 close! 🙂

      If only you lived in NYC or at least were using owl pellets to help….

  13. Cash Rebel says

    I’m just going to choose a high of 2000 even. Seems just as good as any other number. Plus the chance of doing well on the high, low, and close is much lower than just acing one, haha.

  14. Adam W. says

    High 2100
    Low 1690
    End 1737

    The stock market is a messy business, so I killed a chicken (it was delicious) and spread its insides around. They formed a stock graph that clearly showed that the year was going to end down. The optimism around stocks will see everything bid up early in the year, but there will be a scare and the stock market will finish down about six percent. Beware.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      A chicken??!!

      And here I’ve been wasting my time planning a move to NYC and ordering owl pellets on line….

  15. Anyways, Enjoy says

    As much of the fact that I have investments at all (and that their all in Vanguard, no less) comes from discovering this site this year, I think I’ll take a stab.

    High: 2350
    Low: 1790
    Close: 2325

    Why? Mostly because this New Year’s Eve I drunkenly argued that 2013 was the greatest year in the history of the world and that 2014 will be also be the greatest year in history. My mostly unfounded optimism extends to the stock market.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome AE…

      And now sober on January 2 you are still optimistic! (you are sober now, right??)

      2350 sounds good to me. A nice little 27% boost to 2013’s 29.5%!

      Hope you’re right and we’re not instead all drowning our market sorrows come Dec 31st. 😉

  16. OutBy54 says

    High: 2037
    Low: 1701
    Close: 1978

    A short term correction is inevitable during 2014, though the overall year will be up ~7% (mean reversion logic, tho must admit I only spent 30 seconds thinking about it….)

    • jlcollinsnh says


      Now that’s the kind of mockable word usage I was hoping to see in these predictions, OB54! Thanks!

      My guess is you’ll be right. My hope, for mocking purposes, is that you’re dead wrong. 🙂

  17. Danny says

    High: 2248
    Low: 1777
    Dec. 31st, 2014: 2155

    My reasoning is fairly simple. I work for a wealth management family fund, and recently they’ve closed four of their funds dedicated to taxable/tax-free bonds. Being that they are “professional” traders, I’m thinking that they’re feeling bullish now, and for the long term 🙂

    That said, a quick, interesting side point. Recently, I went to my annual company meeting and listened to the investment team. For the fund that they use the S&P 500 as a benchmark, over a 10 year period, they beat the S&P 500 by only 0.6%, after all management expenses. These are all licensed professionals (CFA, Series 6,7, etc.) with a wealth of investment data/tools at their hands. It just goes to show how right you are Jim: (1) How difficult it is to beat the S&P over time and (2) That there is beauty in simplicity (VTSAX).

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Ah crap.

      Hearing that “professionals” share my bullish stance for 2014 makes me far less confident. 🙂

      Actually, beating the index for ten years is a remarkable accomplishment, even if only by .6%

      Glad to have you here, Danny.

      I, and I bet my readers, would love to hear more about your experience working there. What role do you play?

      • Danny says

        Don’t worry Jim, I’m sure just like there are bullish “professionals”, there are bearish one’s out there too Haha!

        As for 0.6% increase, I completely agree with you. The percentage that they beat the S&P over that period is actually much higher, but lets just say they don’t have a 0.05% expense rate like VTSAX 🙂

        As for me, I basically prepare most, if not all, the partnership (and few corporate) tax returns for a very wealthy (and well known) family’s investment funds. From what I’ve seen, they pretty much are investing in anything you can imagine (stocks, private equities, FOF, and a list too long to continue haha). I’ve got to say though, it’s by far the best and most interesting job I’ve ever had. However, doesn’t mean I’m not working on my F-You Money in the mean time 🙂

        As always, appreciate all you and everyone does around here!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      On being accosted on the street and being asked ‘What’s the market going to do?’ JP Morgan replied: “It will fluctuate.”

      You are in good company, John! 😉

  18. LMaS says

    High: 2127 (+15%)
    Low: 1665 (-10%)
    Close: 2035 (+10%)

    Just covering some bases here. Maybe this way I can place in one of the categories 🙂 Although I guess this early in life I should be hoping for a bit of correction so I can buy cheaper… hmm

    • jlcollinsnh says

      That shot is as good as any, LMaS!

      BTW, you are spot on in hoping for a correction. Anyone still in the wealth building stage should be, provided when it comes they have the grit to stay the course and buy on stocks on sale.

      I can guarantee nothing about this year. Or any given year. But I can absolutely guarantee bear markets will come and when they do what you do will largely determine whether the market makes you rich or leaves you broken and bleeding on the street.

      On that happy note, Happy New Year!

  19. Mad Fientist says

    After a dismal effort last year, I’m hoping for redemption this year.

    High: 2152
    Low: 1602
    Close: 1757

    The market will continue to march upwards until a black swan event causes a big selloff on August 24th (might as well try to predict the date too). The market will recover after the event but not by much.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Well since 2014 will see you move from VT, your chances are improved. 🙂

      While I admire your predicting the exact day of the Black Swan, the truly bold move would be to tell us exactly what it will be. 😉

  20. Leo says

    Good Morning from other side of the world,

    as I have no clue about markets, I predict the following

    High: 2.195
    Low: 1.632
    Dec 31: 2.042

    which should be close to the averaged previously posted predictions. 😉

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Wait just a damn minute.

      I’ve got owl pellets on order, movers coming to take me to NYC and a chicken running around opposed to my examining its entrails and now you tell me all I had to do was ask the stock fairy?

      Wait. There’s a stock fairy???

      Couldn’t some fairy dust improve that scary low a bit?

  21. jkenny says

    High: 2123
    Low: 1520
    Close: 1920

    Definitely feel like the market’s going to lose it’s head of steam by year end, but I felt that way in 2013 too. Could I have been wronger?!

    Happy to say I found this blog and moved most of our investments to Vanguard and the 75/25 plan outlined here. Much less stressful, like delegating a big workload to an excellent staff. Furthermore, gathering our uninvested bank accounts together with our other investments into one big Vanguard pile made for kind of pleasant surprise at how big the pile was. Who knew?

    2014 – let the games begin…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome jk!

      Sometimes the more certain we are the more likely we are wrong, eh?

      Glad you found your way here. No matter what this year holds, long-term the principles should serve you well.

      Here’s to a grand 2014!

  22. Shilpan says

    I remain bullish and think that markets will steadily rise again this year. We may have a correction along the way but that is normal .

    Europe is recovering nicely and Asian economy is also on a decent growth pattern. Stocks in general still have one of the lowest p/e(price-to-earnings) and p/s(price-to-sales) ratio.

    Having said that, I still have no crystal ball and believe that a monkey can do a better job of picking numbers than I on any given day. Nonetheless, in the spirit of the challenge, here are my predictions for 2014.

    High: 2240
    Low: 1720
    Close: 2180

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hey Shilpan…

      ..welcome back!

      Looks like we both expect much the same for the market this year. Us and that monkey of yours…. 😉

  23. Chris K says

    High: 2,197
    Low: 1,648
    Close: 2,050

    No reason why I picked this other than I think the housing and automobile sales will continue to climb (thus giving everyone much more confidence) and, quite frankly, more people will get tired of receiving 1% interest and get more involved in the market.

    Came across your site through Mr. Money Mustache and have enjoyed your perspective and been reading through many of your blog posts. Look forward to seeing more of your wisdom.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Those reasons are as good as any, Chris. 😉

      Welcome to the blog! Glad you’ve been enjoying it here.

  24. Jeremy says

    Welcome back Jim. I hope your holiday adventures were exciting and rewarding

    Since I want the stock market to crash this year so I can move our bond position into stocks, I expect the stock market will do nothing but go up. This is pure science

    High: 2124
    Low: 1623
    Close: 2089

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Thanks Jeremy…

      …and thanks for pointing us to Guatemala. We had a great time there over the holidays and in fact after we spend the week in Mexico this February I just may head back to Antigua for a month or so.

      As for stocks, I like your logic. The market is almost certain to to the opposite of what we hope. 🙂

  25. Dave Schmidt says

    High: 2213
    Low: 1719
    Close: 2071

    This is a very difficult prediction to make since I cancelled cable and I never hear any financial news or predictions these days. Interesting how good it feels to not continue to be bombarded by nonsense (this post not withstanding, of course!).

    • jlcollinsnh says


      No cable financial news, eh Dave?

      That just might be more effective than owl pellets, moving to NYC and chicken guts combined! 🙂

  26. Prob8 says

    Hmm, I don’t know how I could have missed so badly. My market predictor must need new batteries. Having now replaced said batteries, here is what my market predictor predicts:

    High: 2125
    Low: 1813
    Year End: 2071

    If this thing doesn’t work this year I’m throwing it out and calling Martha Stewart.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hope you also replaced the owl pellets…


      Martha hasn’t weighed in with her predictions yet…

  27. dude says

    High: 2070
    Low: 1680
    Finish: 2050

    IMF and others have been consistent in their predictions for 3% (or more) growth for the U.S. for 2014. Jobs numbers showing steady improvement. Bringing earnings up will keep P/E ratio in line with prices and make stocks still the place to be. U.S. oil production making us a stronger economy (if at the expense of our environment). Election year means the idiots in Congress will not toy with the economy this year. Obamacare gains traction and actually begins to spur entrepreneurialism as smart people in big companies strike out on their own without worrying about losing their health care. Wall Street will take profits here and there making for a few dips, but overall, the market continues its upward trend. Yep, I remain bullish (even if secretly hoping for a nice 10% correction so I can buy the market at a discount).

  28. smedleyb says

    “Completely wrong” my ass. The SPX was within 1% of where I said it would be — by March. lol!

    So what if it was 40% higher at the end of the year than I said it would be? Talk about splitting hairs…. ; )

    Turning to 2014, my inner Kodiak is unrepentant:

    SPX high: 2050 (March)
    SPX low 1650 (May)
    SPX close 1800 (Dec)

    A nearly 20% swoon lower in early spring puts the kibosh on this unrelenting bull. The market spends the year trading in a range as contradictory crosscurrents like higher incomes, improving confidence collide with rising rates and the resurgence of “fear,” conspicuously absent from this market for the greater part of a year.

    Good luck everybody, and thanks JLC for just doing what you do.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Good to see you sneak in under the wire here, smedley. I’m already looking forward to mocking you for being wrong again this year. 😉

      If I have to go thru that low to get to that close I’m going to need something to cheer me up. 🙂

      Still, should you ever get it right, I expect we can look forward to one hell of a guest post!

      • smedleyb says

        I won’t deny that I spent most of 2013 dreaming of a lower market just so I could win this damn contest. And I might just spend most of 2014 doin’ the same!

  29. RobDiesel says

    Well, look at me being all impressive and such, from last years eerily accurate prediction.

    Let’s not start a Dead Pool. 😀

    Of course, I can’t lay claim to a prize of an insightful guest post as I lack the material. I also wouldn’t consider myself much of a writer.
    If I come up with something, I might draft something and bounce it over to you, Jim, and see what your opinion is.

    I also noticed that I am waaay late with making an accurate prediction for the end-of-year market.
    While I can’t compete officially, I can still throw out some numbers.

    It’ll be a good year, but we’ll have a ‘scare’. A couple of things will drop, which makes “the market” (how I hate that term) panic and push lower. As these things go, some investors with brains will think “holy shit, at THIS price, I’m buying all I can” and then the lemmings say “Oh, if Icahn buys, then I will buy too!” and then we have a rebound.

    Low: 1632
    High: 2613
    Close of year: 2483

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Well, well Rob…

      Nice to see you finally roll on in what with you having won and all. 😉

      No worries. If you don’t want to write the guest post you can take your prize in the cash equivalent. Let’s see now…
      divide by 12, carry the 6, add the cosign of three, delete the common denominator, account for depreciation, dedcut taxes and that comes to…


      Let me know what you decide. 🙂

  30. Bryon says

    Sorry to be a detail Nazi, but it drives the math nerd inside me wild. You say that your prediction of the high was .013% off. It was 1.3% off or off by a factor of .013. Adding in the percent sign moves the decimal place. Your point still stands, and I greatly appreciate the fantastic content on this site.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      No worries, Bryon…

      …your correction is very much appreciated

      I operate this little blog with no help. No proofreaders or fact checkers. But I am very concerned that what appears is as technically accurate as possible.

      So I am always grateful to readers who care enough to point out any errors.

      That said, I am not enough of a mathematician to fully understand your correction here. Could you elaborate?


      • Bryon says

        Well you’re in luck, because my degree is in mathematics. Don’t worry. I’m a great tutor and can simplify it. I probably over explained this. So you can just stop reading when it clicks.

        You said that you were 24 points off of the 1849 high. If you plug into a calculator, 24 / 1849, you get .013. On the other hand if you were to calculate 1% of the 1849 that would be 18.49 points. Remember you said that you were off by .013%. However, we can pretty clearly see that you were off by >1%. It was 1.3% not .013% (which for how high the market rocketed last year 1.3% is amazing).

        The difference is that when you got .013 out of the calculator was this was just a multiplicative factor (sorry for the long probably unhelpful term). However, you have to convert it to a percentage. A multiplicative factor of .01 is equal to 1%. You must multiply your factor by 100 to get the percentage. If you have 1 pie you have 100% of 1 pie. If you have .50 =1/2 of a pie you have 50% of a pie.

        A good way to see what I’m talking about is to plug in .013 into excel when the format is a number, and then change the format to a percentage and it will say 1.3% instead of .013%

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