2014 Annual Louis Rukeyser Memorial Market Prediction Contest results, and my forecast for 2015

Just about this time two years ago I published a bit of satire titled How to be a Stock Market Guru and get on MSNBC. In it 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.


Louis Rukeyser

Every January Rukeyser would have his impeccably credentialed 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 31st he’d salute those few who’d come closest and chide the many goats.

The key thing his program and its parade of guests taught me is that, at any given time, some expert is predicting any possible future that could conceivably happen.  Since all bases are covered, someone is bound to be right.  When they are, their good luck will be interpreted as wisdom and insight.  If their prediction happened to be dramatic enough, it could also lead to fame and fortune. But it is all nonsense.

Sadly, Mr. Rukeyser passed away in 2006 and the current generation of investors is left without his insights and wisdom

But in that post, in his honor and his lighthearted spirit, I introduced 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 2013 high, at 1825, was a scant 24 points off the actual high of 1849. Doesn’t get much more precise than that. Or lucky. But even that wouldn’t have been good enough to win this time.

In the comments last January ~40 of you readers chimed in with your own predictions for 2014. Shortly I’ll share the winners and, of course, chide a few of you goats. So far, no one has equaled my first year feat of winning two of the three categories, although as you’ll see two of our winners came very close.

OK. So how did the market, as measured by the S&P 500, do in 2014 and how close did I come?

S&P 500 2014:

  • High: 2091 reached on December 29th
  • Low: 1742 reached on February 3rd
  • Close: 2059 on December 31st

jlcollinsnh said:

  • High: 2218, off by 127 points
  • Low: 1806, off by 64 points
  • Close: 2125, off by 66 points

Pretty impressive for a guy who doesn’t believe predicting the market is possible. But not nearly impressive enough to win even one of our categories this year.

So, who among my readers had the audacity to best me at my own game? Turns out there were several, but the best of the best are….

For the High:

Pura Vida Nick took the honors for his prediction of 2084 for the high, missing it by a scant 7 points.

His closing prediction of 2029 was also remarkably close to the actual close of 2059, but not close enough to win.

In his comment, he observed: “My crystal ball simply says I may get lucky, and that’s the only reason I would win anything.” Your becoming humility has served you well, Sir!

For the Low:

The very first commentor last year, Reepekg, takes the low crown with his prediction of 1735, also just 7 points off.

Of course, Reepekg cheated by using owl pellets to help select his winning number:

“I cracked open some owl pellets and divined…”

But then he has a history of using unfair tactics:

“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.”

Even so, he turned out to be way too pessimistic on his high of 1986 and close of 1937. Owl pellets and girls’ names can only take you so far.

For the Close: 

We had a three way tie. Each predicting 2050, just nine points off, were RW, Chris K and dude. 

RW consulted “…the tea leaves because my crystal ball is a bit cloudy after New Year’s eve.” Unfortunately, those tea leaves didn’t help him on his high of 2180, which was 89 points too optimistic and they led him to expect a “crop failure or a digital breakdown” which he said would drive the market down to 1680. 62 points too low.

RW also has the distinction of coming within a 1-point whisker of beating me for the high in the 2013 contest.

In picking his 2050 winning close number, Chris K said:

“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)…” Indeed both housing and car sales improved, but that didn’t help with Chris’s 2197 high (off 106) or his 1648 low (off 94).

dude actually provided serious analisis for his winning closing prediction of 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.”

He also came within 21 points of the high with his call of 2070. Even his 1680 low, while off by 62, beat my own by 2 points.

At the time, I replied:

“Dude! Your analysis makes such perfect sense your predictions are almost sure to be wrong!”

Turns out I was the one who was wrong. Thanks for spoiling my plans for mocking you this year, dude.

But just to show there are no hard feelings, we’re going to use your High prediction as the tie breaker and declare you the winner in this three way for closing.

Still, that’s the problem with round numbers, guys. If only one of you had showed a little gumption and come in at 2051. We can all learn a lesson from Fat Chance whose closing prediction was 2088.24. Now that’s precise. Wrong, but precise.

Fat Chance also tried to persuade me to end the contest early with his December 26 plea in the comments on last year’s post:

“Can you end the contest 2 days early? I am really, really close…..” How insulting! He didn’t even offer a bribe, so of course not.

How close was he?

  • High: 2100, off by only 9 points and off only 2 points from our winner.
  • Low: 1830, off a dismal 88.
  • Close: 2088, off 29

Well within bribing distance! He did, however, redeem himself with a great movie recommendation: Wolf of Wall Street

OK, enough of that. Let’s get on with chiding the goats!


Poor goats. Always on the edge.

We’ll start with the Big Losers…

Carnac called for a close of 1585, missing it by 474 points for the worst call of all in that category. 1585 was also his call for the low, but fully five people did even more poorly in their lows. In posting his predictions, Carnac said, “Why? No idea…”

No idea, indeed! Still, he redeemed himself somewhat with his call for a high of 2133, only 42 off the mark.

Reekwind was our biggest, and wrongest, pessimist calling for a low of 1311, off the mark by a whopping 431. Thankfully.

He was also way too optimistic, with a 2380 prediction. But, like Fat Chance, his 2100 call for the close almost put him in the winner’s circle.

That’s quite a range and, as he said at the start: “I’m expecting a more volatile year…”

Last year, Rob Diesel was our overall winner. His 2013 high came in at #3, his low at #1 and his close at #2. Very impressive and nobody this year came even close to that overall performance. But this year? This year, not so much…

This year Rob is our biggest, and wrongest, optimist calling for a high of 2613, off the mark by a whopping 522. Wouldda been nice though!

He also posted the second worst performance in the closing category with his 2483 prediction, off by 424. Fortunately, his 1632 low missed by only 110, saving him from a clean sweep in the goats placing. Still, it’s enough to crown Rob our biggest loser!

Better luck in 2015, Rob!

Speaking of last year….

Shilpan came in second for predicting the low and third for the close. Amazingly, as with last year, his low of 1720 is again good enough for second place, off only 22 points. But his high and close, off 149 and 121 respectively, are only mid-pack this year. As he said: “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.”

Not sure, but he might be calling you winners monkeys….

The Mad Fientist proved again this year that you can be a wicked smart financial blogger and still suck at predicting the market. While his high only missed by 61, his low was off by 140 and his close of 1757 missed by 302! I’m sure he is celebrating that mistake on the close with the rest of us.

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. Last year his predictions failed miserably. This year he said:
“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.”

Mmmm. Missed by 34, 71 and 12. Not good enough to win in this very competitive year, but impressive none-the-less. Martha Stewart couldn’t have done any better. (And if you think you can, Martha, give it a try this year!)

The New Mexico Lobo expressed shock last year at what seemed to be unfounded and rampant optimism run amuck. His pessimistic predictions went on to earn him the title of biggest loser in the 2013 contest.

Posting under a new name, “George Hahn,” this year he said, ‘I hope that I can hold on to my coveted crown!!” and went on to predict:

  • High: 2032
  • Low: 1478
  • Close: 1663

Off by 59, 264 and 396. You’re still a big loser, Mr. Hahn. Just not the biggest this year.

Rummaging thru some more of last year’s comments and predictions, we also have….

Linda who told us: “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.”

Solid premise, even if we only got to an ~11% gain. That’s just half what you promised, Linda!

earlyretirementsg declared “I totally don’t believe in market prediction…” and then went on to make his anyway. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Although in calling for 1700 on the low, he got to within 42 points.

Dave @ The New York told us: “I’m pretty sure I’ll get this right through osmosis as the NYSE is in right here with me in NYC!”  And then went on to get it wrong. The closest he got was his 2117 call on the close, off by 58.

Frankies Girl “spent most of this year reading lots of blogs and learning what I could…” and then got it wrong. Perhaps more reading? Still, her 1777 low was only off 35, crushing Dave who has the NYSE right in his back yard!

Adam W. “…killed a chicken and spread its insides around. They formed a stock graph that clearly showed that the year was going to end down.” Wrong, but at least he tells us the chicken was delicious.

Anyways, Enjoy proved overly optimistic with his call for 2325 on the close.

“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.”

Surprise! Alcohol does not an accurate market prediction make.

OutBy54 confidently told us “A short term correction is inevitable during 2014.” Easy call, that. A short-term correction happens at least once most every year. Not this year! But then, as he confided, he “only spent 30 seconds thinking about it.” We got what we paid for….

“Inevitable.” I said in reply. “Now that’s the kind of mockable word usage I was hoping to see in these predictions….My hope, for mocking purposes, is that you’re dead wrong.” Wishes do come true!

Mark had “No real logic, just throwing some numbers out there.” They were the wrong numbers as it happens. But not as wrong as those of some claiming to use logic.

Ralph was also “Just throwing out numbers” that also happened to be wrong. But really, that’s all any of us are doing, Ralph just admits it!

also put “…my hat…in the ring, with minimum thinking involved.” Good to know coming up with the wrong answers doesn’t have to take much thought. Still, m is already bugging me in comments from last year as to when this post declaring his/her failure will appear. Here you go m: Your validation as a loser has arrived!

Mrs EconoWiser relied on “A little stock fairy” to give her the wrong predictions. Damn fairies.

jkenny said “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?!” Maybe not wronger, but wrong again none-the-less.

Jeremy of Go Curry Cracker fame said “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.”

Right on target and his 2089 close was only 30 points too optimistic. Better (worse?) luck in 2015, Jeremy!

Dave Schmidt whined:This is a very difficult prediction to make since I cancelled cable and I never hear any financial news or predictions these days.” And then went on to make some of the better predictions:

  • High: 2213, off by 122 (OK, this one’s not so good…)
  • Low: 1719, off by 23
  • Close: 2071, off by 12

Seems avoiding the financial news doesn’t hurt!

smedleyb complained in his comment/prediction last year about my having called him “completely wrong” in his predictions for the year before. Then he went on to say:

“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.”

And I get to say, “completely wrong” again!

Interestingly, his call of 2050 for the high would have tied him as one of the winners had only he made that his call for the close. Instead, he told us to expect 1800 at year’s end.

Maybe this year, smedley.

Think you can do better?

In the comments below post up your predictions for the S&P 500. Tell us the high, low and where it will close come December 31, 2015. And put in a line or two as to why so I’ll have something to mock you with when you fail.

All in good fun, of course, and knowing this is all just so much nonsense.

That right there is the difference from us here at jlcollinsnh and all those TV talking heads. While we’re all making predictions, unlike them, around here we know we’re just talking out our…


For those of you who were wrong this year, there’s no reason you might not redeem yourself for 2015 if you’ve the courage to try once more. We’ll be waiting to mock you yet again if you fail. Heh.

For those who did well, let’s see you do it again. As Rob Diesel learned, mocking your failure will be even sweeter!

Don’t feel bad. In all likelihood, you’ll get to mock me too. Here are my 2015 predictions:

  • High: 2533
  • Low: 1812
  • Dec. 31st, 2015: 2471

Last year, when I made my calls, I was already planning to predict a down year for 2015. I figured this bull market, in which we’ve been basking, would be ready to pack it in. In fact, I didn’t really expect it to last thru 2014.

But here we are and, as we enter the new year, the economic recovery this rising market has been predicting seems to be here and getting stronger. My guess is the momentum will keep rolling and we’ll see an even better year than last. If I’m right, this will take the bull into its seventh year.

Along the way, I think we’ll also finally get a real correction in the 10-15% range, most likely in the first half. But I don’t expect it will last long.

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. My owl pellets are just as moldy.

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.

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

Happy new year

May Your 2015 be Healthy, Happy, Prosperous, Free and filled with Joy!

And on your journey remember:

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

                                                                               Jack Canfield

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  1. Merk says

    I have no idea how to predict the stock market, so I picked a range of numbers and had random.org pick the numbers for me. My range for high and close was between 2200-2500 and my range for low was between 1700-2000. This is what it spit back at me:

    High: 2464
    Low: 1706
    Dec. 31, 2015: 2391

    Here’s to hoping I can use a little chance to predict the future!

  2. robdiesel says

    Hahaha, fantastic! I just want to remind you that at this point I am still at 50%! Pretty impressive statistics over two years. 😉

    The *real* reason I didn’t win this year is that all you Debbie Downers artificially depressed the market. That, and some other vague things like “cautiously optimistic” and “hedging the bets” and “taking profits”. I think that should be enough that I can spin anything I say NEXT year into “I told you so”.

    That said, here’s my prediction for next year;

    High: 2613 (tenacity, yeah!)
    Low: High: 2001 (a Space Odyssey)
    Close: 2361 (WildAssGuess)

    Last year, Rob Diesel was our overall winner. His 2013 high came in at #3, his low at #1 and his close at #2. Very impressive and nobody this year came even close to that overall performance. But this year? This year, not so much…

    This year Rob is our biggest, and wrongest, optimist calling for a high of 2613, off the mark by a whopping 522. Wouldda been nice though!

    He also posted the second worst performance in the closing category with his 2483 prediction, off by 424. Fortunately, his 1632 low missed by only 110, saving him from a clean sweep in the goats placing. Still, it’s enough to crown Rob our biggest loser!

    Better luck in 2015, Rob!

  3. george fritz hahn says

    New Mexico Lobo states:
    What! I’m not the biggest loser?
    Shucks! Woof, woof, woof.
    High: 2300
    Low: 1700
    Close: 2200

  4. Done by Forty says

    I didn’t place this year…shoot. But if weekends at the roulette table have taught me anything, it is this: if you keep playing the same numbers, eventually they hit.

    So, let’s just take the same figures as last time around:

    High: 2301
    Low: 1609
    Dec. 31st, 2015: 2198

  5. M says

    Hilarious. Well, of only there were another wise and cheeky old soul on tv that had a little charm and a wink in his eye…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Always nice to have time-travelers visit, Mary.

      But seeing as you have access to looking back on 2015 in the future history books, we may have to disqualify you. Especially if your predictions turn out to be uncannily accurate. 😉

  6. ak907 says

    Love it, it think this little game makes for such a cool demonstration. Never made a prediction before but here it goes.
    Based on nothing but my feeling that this will be a weak up year, possibly with some terrorism (ISIS) and interest rate related panics:
    High: 2302
    Low: 1784.37
    Close: 2204.825

    Thanks for your awesome high quality posts 🙂

  7. Fatchance says

    High 2400
    low 1950
    End 2330.06

    When I asked you to close 2 days early, I was within a $1. I showed my 15 year old son who is taking a business class and he thought I was a genius and told his teacher I could predict the market. I felt like a winner even with the loss. Had I known bribes were an option to close the contest at that time, I would have pursued that route.

    I am an optimist. I don’t think I would ever predict the market would go down in a given year or I would not be in it for that year.

    Jim, I hope you have a great 2015 no matter what the market does.

  8. Dollar Flipper says

    Here are mine:
    High: 2159
    Low: 1652
    Dec. 31st, 2015: 1872

    I pulled them right out of my butt.

    I’d also love it if the market dropped earlier this month because I have a pension lump sum I’m rolling over to an IRA. So big drop end of January would be perfect.

  9. dude says

    WOO-HOO!! hahaha! Really fun to participate — I was watching the ticker closely the last couple weeks to see where I’d wind up. No doubt, my 2015 predictions, which I’ll have to ruminate over before posting, will be wildly off! The one thing I can say at this point is that I have a nagging fear of a Black Swan event in 2015, though I hope I’m way, way off on that prediction.

  10. Tom says

    High: 2145
    Low: 1746
    Close: 2028

    The high will occur early-ish in the year, and later in the year we’ll have a fairly major correction. We seem overdue for one that’s more than the usual 5-10%.

    As for the close being slightly lower than 12/31/14, I think that while our economy is in fine shape, it has risen too quickly and the currently high Shiller P/E seems to agree. There is also a sense that the Fed will increase rates in 2015, which will reduce stock prices, even if it’s only because Wall Street types get spooked.

  11. Danny says

    High: 2302
    Low: 1985
    Dec. 31st, 2015: 2271

    Saw a lot more trading at the end of 2014 from the “professionals” at where I work. However, overall it was less than 2013. Surprisingly though my company’s funds kept up again with the S&P 500 (even after expense fees). Maybe I should go ask the traders for some advice 😉

    Good luck to everyone this year!

  12. dude says

    Okay, here goes for 2015:

    High: 2258
    Low: 1924
    Finish: 2183

    Tepid stock market growth this year as the bull run tapers off, the Fed raises rates for the first time in what seems like a millenia, a strong dollar makes our exports more expensive, oil stays cheap thus giving Americans more disposable income, the Eurozone continues to weigh on the global economy. 3% GDP growth in the U.S. will translate to 6% S&P 500 growth. But that nagging Black Swan concern . . .

    • dude says

      Damn, checking in on my prediction as we near the closing bell for the year, and I have to say — my analysis was spot f***king on!!!! My predicted numbers — eh, not so much . . . (though I suppose a 7% run-up in the last 2 weeks of the year is *possible* — NOT!!!).

  13. IndigoCZ says

    High: 2203
    Low: 1763
    Close: 2121

    Despite a long time coming correction, we’ll still end up a little. Or not.

  14. Reepekg says

    I’ve covered myself in glory! Victory is mine! Welcome to 2015, the year of insufferable gloating by Reepekg…

    This year I have refined my methods considerably. Instead of pellets, the key is the owls themselves! By borrowing methodology from the incredibly accurate science of earthquake prediction, unusual animal behavior has in some occasional anecdotal situations maybe possibly preceded an earthquake. I can see that a quake will definitely happen February 16, 2015 +/- 100 years

    High: 2162
    Low: 1669
    Close: 1884

    Buy buy buy for the long hall when it happens.

  15. Matt V says

    High: 2305.7
    Low: 1763.3
    Close: 2177.9

    Oh yeah, that’s right. I’m being extra ridiculous by predicting to one decimal point.

    I really hope I’m wrong and the market takes a tumble so I can invest at lower prices and maybe move some of my bond position into stocks.

    Here’s my tongue-in-cheek analysis: This bull market still has a bit left to run and the US economy is strong,but investors have a lot to be wary of with deflation fears in Europe, instability in Greece, and the Fed set to increase borrowing costs by raising short-term interest rates. We’ll end the year up around 6%, but it will be a bumpy ride.

  16. Matt says

    Here’s your winner:

    High: 2327.3
    Low: 1823
    Close: 2281

    I used the classic method of analyzing P/E ratios against my fantasy football success to arrive at those numbers.

  17. Mr. Frugalwoods says

    Love this!

    With the full knowledge and expectation that my dog has just as much chance of being right about this as I do (and even for a dog, she’s not that bright)…

    High: 2311
    Low: 1850
    Dec. 31: 2288

    To come up with those numbers I randomly picked reasonable sounding numbers out of thin air.

    I think that qualifies me for a recurring segment on CNBC. I’ll await my towncar…

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Frugal Hound is certainly welcome to post her own predictions.

      If last year’s participants proved anything, it is that you don’t have to be too bright to join in… 😉

  18. EconoWiser says

    Sent the failing stock fairy back to her family and have now consulted a magic rainbow unicorn. Here’s what it had to say:

    High: 2750
    Low: 1999
    Dec. 31st, 2015: 2657

  19. Kay says

    I am pretty sure that the high will be 2413, the low 1734 and 1908 will end at 1934. Or at least, I happen to like those numbers.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Since you could look up in the history books what happened in 1908, accepting your predictions hardly seems fair. 😉

  20. Peter Akkies says

    I’ve been analyzing recent stock trading data for my job for the past few weeks so I must be extraordinarily qualified to make predictions for the S&P 500. My predictions:

    High: 2191
    Low: 1842
    Close: 2159

  21. Jason R says

    High: 2302
    Low: 1925
    Close: 2237

    Most years are good years, so that’s where I’ll base my prediction. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a much lower low or a higher high or a close anywhere on the board, but if your forcing a guess, I’ll go with around the past’s average year.

  22. Prob8 says

    There are many reasons for the S&P to end up in the red this year. First, this bull market is getting long in the tooth. I believe this bull is in the top five, if not top three at this point. Pretty impressive, but the odds are not in favor of a lengthy continuation. There’s also quite a bit of unrest due to the economic and political atmosphere overseas. Oil issues will continue to be problematic and there will, no doubt, arise some new issue this year that will send the market sharply, though temporarily, lower. Valuations are also on the high side and interest rate rises will likely cause some negative market reaction.

    However, the economy seems to be improving and unemployment getting better. Also, stocks will continue to be attractive in an environment with low yields elsewhere – bonds being particularly unattractive given the possibility of interest rate hikes.

    Given all that nonsense, here are my predictions:

    High: 2243
    Low: 1925
    Close: 2202

  23. Darcy says

    I’m new to the whole investing scene, so if I lose I’m chalking it up to inexperience, ignorance, and general incompetence. If I win, of course, it’s clearly due to my expert knowledge and market assessment. Some statistics might have been involved in these numbers.

    High: 2429.6
    Low: 1853.1
    Close: 2264.9

  24. Jeremy says

    I didn’t win?! wtf. This game is totally rigged!

    While my action with the SEC is underway to overturn this horrible injustice, I still find it necessary to enter again this year

    High: 2453
    Low: 1738
    Close: 2248

    I’ve reviewd my horoscope, verified these numbers against the Fibonacci sequence and Avogadro’s number, and consulted with my deceased ancestors. Since I don’t want to rely solely on logical and rational methods, I’ve also studied the current micro and macro economic environment. Hiring is up, prices are deflating, companies are reaping previous years investment at sub zero interest rates, and the developing world is hungry for American products (particularly Oreos and Pop Tarts, but then again, who isn’t?!)

    Here’s to a great 2015


    • jlcollinsnh says

      Of course it’s rigged. I can make the market do whatever I want, whenever I want.

      See my note to Fat Chance on bribes above. 😉

  25. ael says

    Hi Jim,

    Regarding the challenge:

    I printed out the S&P 500 graph, drew some lines and guessed. Sort of a poor man’s simple (ie not multiple) linear regression. It’ just the market timing part that could screw up my otherwise perfect prediction, sort of like a stopped clock being right twice a day. But if I hit them all I’ll expect your full endorsement and promotion for my own, strike while the iron’s hot, rip off the public good, free market entreprenurial consultancy. (I wouldn’t worry too much about this if I were you)

    High 2425
    Low 1980 (we’ve already had it)
    Close 2340

    And thanks for another year of thoughtful commentary. Have a great year.


  26. ael says

    A quick suggestion. How about using a net difference of all three scores combined to determine an over all winner and truly worst loser? I would be glad to consent to this formula and risk it all.

      • ael says

        Actually a spread sheet would accomplish this task as well as probably making the “wading through the numbers” easier to begin with. It could also do what Kaylay suggests. I lost your email address or I would send you a sample that I “whomped up” to illustrate. Let me know if you are interested. ael

  27. Linda says

    Very sad that my prediction didn’t come true – 20% would have been awesome!

    My prediction for this year has been suitably toned down after my “half”-baked prediction for 2014. I’ve applied some serious economic analysis with this one:

    High – 2217
    Low – 1847
    Close – 2184

    This post was hilarious to read through, congrats to the winners and losers! XD

  28. Chris K says

    Jim, thanks for the great article and recognition. I am almost blushing except for the fact there as no skill involved in this prediction.

    Here are my predictions for 2015.

    High – 2375
    Low – 1915
    Close – 2224

    My reasoning is semi-random in some ways, including 3rd year of the presidential term, and just plain hopeful that wage increases will gain traction. Another semi-random observation is that all my neighbors are out spending like crazy, cars, vacations, etc., which says to me that confidence to push the market is in good shape.

  29. frugalfighterpilot says

    My predictions for 2015:
    – High: 2534
    – Low: 1813
    – Dec. 31st, 2015: 2472

    Reasoning: To be one(1) better than Mr. Collins in every category. Do “Price is Right” rules apply in stock market picks too?

  30. Randellman says

    Here’s my picks for 2015:

    High: 2449
    Low: 1968
    Dec 31/15: 2312

    Highly unprobable but just as likely. Happy New Year!

  31. Keylay says

    High – 2456
    Low – 1900
    Close – 2323

    Has anyone tried averaging all of the previous guesses to see where the average ended up? There’s some evidence that people are good at this type of thing.

    • Keylay says

      Ok, now that I’m sober, I decided to create a little spreadsheet.
      The averages (n=39) from last year’s spreadsheet are:
      High- 2153 (off by 62)
      Low – 1703 (off by 39)
      Close – 2040 (off by 19)
      For a Error Sum of 120. If you take the median have have an Error Sum of 113.
      Jim had an Error Sum of 257.
      Prob8 and Fat Chance were at 117 while dude was at 92.

      Here’s a paper about it so I sound smart: http://personal.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/T.Windeatt/word_bkp/research/tutorial/mcs-ensembles.pdf

      Jim, I think the answer is that you clearly need more voters! 🙂

      • ael says

        Mostly my numbers agree with you, but I get n= 37. Although I was very
        careful, maybe I made a mistake or maybe you included the entry that
        came after the deadline and maybe the incomplete entry that only had a
        high and no low or close. Agree that Dude had lowest total absolute
        differences at 92 and Prob8 was at 117, but Pura Vida Nick (whom you
        didn’t mention) had 103 therefore being number 2 and Fat Chance was 126
        or number 4. I just double checked those four entries from the original
        2014 invitation to the game, so I’m pretty sure of them. Also agree Jim
        had a 257.

        • Keylay says

          I did include the one that just had the high and didn’t pay attention to the comment deadline, so that would explain the discrepancy of 2. My theory was that we needed as much data as we could to get a more accurate mean. Nice catch on Pura Vida Nick. All in all, I’d say dude won. Thanks for checking!

  32. Draggon says

    Much to all of you-all’s advantage, I wasn’t around to smash the competition last year. But BEWARE – for I am here now to make my prognostication!

    Um, just a sec, gotta go see what the S&P is trading at………

    High: 2072.36
    Low: 1719.76
    Close: 2010.19

    You read it here first! Ignore this prediction at your own risk. Folly is as folly does.

    (Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!)

  33. Mr. FC says

    It’s morning in LA and the house is quiet, so it’s a great time to start doing some predictin’:
    Low: 1852 – represents a 10% correction. Why? I’m looking out the window and a bird flew by and pooped in the yard. That’s why.
    High: 2330 – represents something like a 15% gain. Why? Just because. When? Glad you asked!
    Close: 2171 – represents a 7% gain. Why? Well, my model says that the market has a 7% rise each year and if that happens, I’ll be a happy guy. And I like to be happy.

    Happy 2015!!

  34. Krishanu says

    My 3-cents:

    High: 2212
    Low: 1879
    Close: 2177

    Reasoning: Looking at the market today, these 3 numbers jumped from my sub-conscious to my conscious mind before I started typing. Also known as gibberish.

  35. Frankie's Girl says

    I was pretty close for the low in 2014… not bad for someone that had absolutely no idea what this strange and scary thing we call the stock market was even a few years ago… (and I no longer find it strange and scary, so yea for me!)

    So of course I’m playing along again this year. 😀

    High: 2277
    Low: 1937
    Close: 2183

  36. jkenny says

    I’m weighing in again for this year’s collective humility exercise in market predicting. It’s fun! It’s unvarnished truth! It’s free to enter this competition! Yay!

    High – 2244
    Low – 1758
    Close – 2123

  37. Clint says

    I’d guess we won’t see a massive beatdown or bull run. Either way, it’ll end up being a mediocre (+/- 10%) year. But I’ll commit to the more optimistic side of that coin, here:

    High: 2230
    Low: 1709
    Close: 2088

    But I’d rather have a year-long clearance sale!

  38. Brian says


    Why the low? It’s about -6% of today’s close. Why the high? It was a long day and I’m looking forward to retiring by 44 being a reality

  39. Pawel says

    High: 3333
    Low: 1111
    Close: 2222

    To be reasonable at this point you need to pick Low lower and High higher than it’s been already this year and Close somewhere in between. Hence my safe guess.

  40. jlcollinsnh says

    OK, let’s wrap this up at the close of trade this coming Friday, January 16th. That means you have until opening bell Monday to get your predictions in.

    You late comers have an advantage.

    Market lore says the first couple of trading weeks foretell the year. Looks like one for the Bears!

    But wait!

    Market lore also says the 3rd year of a presidential term is destined to be an up year. One for the Bulls!

    How can this conflict be??!!

    Or maybe, just maybe market lore is not accurate? Could it be just so much Bulls…

    …or Bears?

  41. MaxTheTerrible says

    Capitalizing in on the late entry, here’s my prediction:
    High: 2412;
    Low: 1804;
    Close: 2279
    All numbers above are straight from my in-house developed forecasting machine – the Future Predictor – 1000. My proprietary algorithm takes input from tea/coffee non-extractables sedimentation analysis, osseous tissue ballistics, quartz sphere transmission visualization and other proven future-predicting technologies…

  42. forestbound says

    I have not ONE CLUE… So I took Jim’s numbers and upped each one by 3. Why? Because, I’m a crazy (read “lazy”) optimist!

    High: 2536
    Low: 1815
    Dec. 31st, 2015: 2474

    • jlcollinsnh says


      you and frugalfighterpilot! 😉

      Not sure why you guys are piling on me. I didn’t even come all that close this year….

  43. ahonnet says

    Basically I tried to do some relatively simple excel modeling based on historic results. Then I wasted entirely too much time to continue to tweak my model until it looked reasonable and went with something that I probably should have just swagged to begin with.

  44. randy says

    Here are my predictions for 20215.
    High- 2450
    Low- 1750
    Close – 1901
    All of my predictions came from my 4 year old he said these would be good numbers so I am going with these numbers. They can’t be to far off from the talking heads analysis. We will see in Dec how good his predictions are.

  45. Arnold says

    Here are my predictions:

    High – 2195
    Low – 1775
    Close – 1881

    I am assuming it will be a down market and just want to do it for the fun of it 🙂

  46. Mrs. Healthywealth says

    It took me a while to respond with the correct numbers since I had to do some serious calculations which I then showed to a psychic. Here they are:

    High: 2290
    Low: 1930
    Close: 2180

    • jlcollinsnh says

      No worries David…

      When you prove to be wrong, we can mock you all the more severely for having missed even with the advantage.

      In the unlikely event you prove to be right, we can discredit you altogether. 🙂

  47. Benedicte says

    Well, I am just a little be late which is going to allow me to be the best at this game.
    Since I am about to invest my fortune in the stock market in one big lump sum, I forecast that the market will just go downhill from there. This should prepare me mentally for that big slump that Jim has told me is gonna come one day or another, whilst at the same time allow me to win that contest ! Whatever happens from there I’ll be a winner , either with that contest or with my investment …
    High 2117
    Low 1547
    Close 1548

    • jlcollinsnh says

      With the big drop on Friday, Benedicte….

      …looks like your decision to participate has triggered the plunge. At least now we have someone to blame. 😉

      With your late entry, I can’t in good conscience award you our extravagant prize should you win. But I will be happy to heap on the abuse should you be off the mark! 🙂

      • Benedicte says

        Oh come on, I did not even know you guys existed at the time I was supposed to have given my predictions ! 🙂
        Noticed the HIGH I predicted already happened ? It’s going downhill from there ! And I am still going to invest my $150 000 on Monday … It’s been sitting in my account for a week and it’s a week to many 🙂

  48. Jeremy E. says

    I’m not sure if this is where I should put my 2016 prediction, but I’m doing it anyhow!
    High – 2420
    Low – 1875
    Close – 2375

    • jlcollinsnh says

      After your dismal showings the last couple of years, aren’t you the glutton for punishment. 😉

      Anyway, you can post your predictions anywhere you’d like, but to be officially considered and entered they’ll have to be in the comments on the 2015 results/2016 contest post.

      Coming soon to a blog near you.

      Otherwise, no mocking for you when you are proven (again) wrong.

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