3rd Annual (2015) Louis Rukeyser Memorial Market Prediction Contest results, and my forecast for 2016

Just about this time three 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 jlcollinsnh.com 1st Annual Louis Rukeyser Memorial Market Prediction Contest for the year 2013.

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.

My predictions fell short for 2014 but were still 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 that year.

However, almost as if to prove how silly such predictions are, my results were truly wretched for the year just past:


S&P 500 2015:

  • High: 2131 reached on May 21st
  • Low: 1868 reached on August 25th
  • Close: 2044 on December 31st

jlcollinsnh said:

  • High: 2533, off by 402(!) points
  • Low: 1812, off by 56 points
  • Close: 2471, off by 427(!!) points

For the High and the Close it would have been pretty hard to do worse. But some of you managed and I’ll be mocking you shortly.

But first, who among my readers had the audacity to best me at my own game? Most of you it turns out. Even for the low fully 16 of you were closer than, or tied, my 56-point miss.

The best of the best are….

For the High and (!) the Close:

For the first time since I did it in the inaugural contest, we have one winner in two categories. Tom called for a High of 2145, off a scant 14 points and a Close of 2028, missing by only 16. He was wrong about the Low, being 122 points too pessimistic. But he did come spookily close to calling when his high and low would happen. Very impressive and a bit irritating as he presented his predictions so seriously:

“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.”

Yer making this prediction stuff sound plausible there, Tom.

Fortunately he was completely wrong about his call for a major correction.

So, congratulations and well done Tom! But whadaya got for us in 2016? Bet I get to mock you yet!

For runners-up on the High

While being fully 100% worse than Tom’s 14, Dollar Flipper‘s 28 was good for second place. However, his Low (216) and Close (172) were completely unimpressive, but then he did say: “I pulled them right out of my butt.”

Reepekg, off by 31, came in third. A dismal showing given his promising start last year.

His was the very first entry in the 2014 contest and he took the Low crown impressively, just 7 points off. But, even caught cheating by using owl pellets to divine his number, he promptly took to unseemly bragging:

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

While I can fully appreciate how winning a contest as prestigious as this one might go to one’s head, muster up a little decorum there, Reepekg.

Worse, for his performance anyway, “This year I have refined my methods considerably. Instead of pellets, the key is the owls themselves!”

In addition to being able to only deliver a third place finish, the owls had him off by 199 on the Low and 160 on the Close.

So my advice Reepekg is, go back to the shit.

Interestingly, Reepekg‘s Low and Close were also the closest to Dollar Flipper‘s. While I have no evidence that they were in collusion, he has been known to use owl poop and we can only guess what coated DF‘s numbers given where they came from. Coincidence, or conspiracy?

For runners-up on the Close

Draggon‘s 33.81 off the pace was good for second place on the close.  Off only 58.64, his High would have put him in fourth place if, you know, we acknowledged losers down to that level.

He gave us fair warning: “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!”

Still, for all his fire-breathing, he didn’t actually win anything. And, of course, his wretched 148.24 miss on the Low surely put ashes in his mouth.

Clint missed the close by 44, good for third place. He told us “…we won’t see a massive beatdown or bull run. Either way, it’ll end up being a mediocre (+/- 10%) year.”

While his high missed by 99 and his low by 159, no one gave a better verbal description for how the year actually unfolded. Well done Clint. I got my eye on you!

For the Low:

This year we had a tie, and both were only 11 points off the mark. Both also turned in miserable performances for the High and the Close. Since Krishanu was slightly less miserable, we’ll start with him.

Krishanu called his predictions “My three cents” and went on to say: “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.”

Good thing you added that line about gibberish there, Krishanu. Without it there might have been no end to my mocking.

Still the whole hyper-jump from sub-conscious to conscious was good for a win in at least the Low category, and that’s something no one else was able to do.

Other than jimcramer.

All jimcramer had to offer with his predictions was “booyah!” a transparent attempt to convince us that he is the TV personality of the same name. With his dreadful calls on the High (139) and the Close (155) it could have been possible. But with winning the Low? Not a chance.

Showing just how tough winning the Low this year was, five more entries came with 25 points:

Off by just 14.9, Darcy said:

“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.”

With your pathetic High off 298.6 and Close off 220.9 Darcy, it is a little of both!

Mr. FC was close behind, off by only 16. Why did he come so close? “…a bird flew by and pooped in the yard. That’s why.”

His High missed by 199: “Why? Just because.”
His Close missed by 127: “… 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”

Listen very carefully, Mr. FC: Mr. Market doesn’t care about you being happy. Stick with the bird poop. It is a time honored strategy around here. Just ask Reepekg.

Mr. Frugalwoods missed the Low by only 18 points. In offering his prediction he said: ‘Love this!” and “…my dog has just as much chance of being right… (and even for a dog, she’s not that bright)”

Would she have been bright enough to best your misses on High (180) and Close (244)? Maybe she’d gaze into the crumbs at the bottom of her food bowl and divine the correct numbers? Better perhaps than your approach of “randomly picked reasonable sounding numbers out of thin air.”

Still, your effort certainly qualifies you “for a recurring segment on CNBC.” (See how little regard I have for those with recurring segments on CNBC?)

This year give Frugalhound a chance!

Linda missed by only 21. “My prediction for this year has been suitably toned down after my ‘half’-baked prediction for 2014.” Good move Linda! But then she “applied some serious economic analysis” and came up with a High off by 86 and a Close that missed by 140.

Mike 4 ended all his predictions with the number 44. “What can I say,” he said “I like the number 44.” Fair enough. It got him within 24 of the actual low. Of course, his High and Close were off by 313 and 300. No fours to be found. But then, I had fours and did even worse.

Across the board….

Peter Akkies said:

“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.”

Boy howdy, that’s just asking for abuse when you fail. Unfortunately, Peter did pretty good. His Low, an exceptionally tough category this year, was off by only 26. His High missed by 60 and only four people did better.  And while his Close was an unimpressive looking miss of 115, truth is only seven were more accurate.

So, well done Mr. Akkies. But the question is will you now cravenly avoid this contest and rest on your laurels? Or will you step up again giving me the almost certain opportunity to mock your failure come this time next year?

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

Well we had the (~10%) correction and finished flat, so not a bad call. And more modestly stated than Peter above. At 72 off the High, 105 off the Low and 77 off the Close, not bad numbers either.

No pressure, but we expect BIG! things from you this year, Indigo!

jkenny didn’t win anything, but his numbers (High 113 – Low 110 – Close 79) were close enough I kept noticing him on the spreadsheet.

Last time, after his dismal 2013 showing,  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, I told him.

This time a chastened jkenny said: “I’m weighing in again for this year’s collective humility exercise in market predicting.”

If he’d stuck to his “going to lose it’s head of steam by year end” theme he’d have finally been a winner. But, alas, it was not to be.

He went on to say:  “It’s fun! It’s unvarnished truth! It’s free to enter this competition! Yay!”

Mmmm. You may have given me an income idea there, jkenny.

Looking back, the mighty always fall…

After Pura Vida Nick took the honors for his prediction last year for the High, missing it by a scant 7 points, he failed to even try for 2015. His Closing prediction of 2029 was also remarkably close to the actual close of 2059. Resting on those laurels are we, PVN?

As for the Close last year we had a three-way tie and each were only 9 points off the mark. This year?

RW was a no show, cravenly avoiding the arena like PVN. 

dude missed the Close by gaping 139 points this time, and his miss on the High – 127 – was almost as bad. His 56 point miss for the Low looks pretty good until you realize 16 other players did better. Plus it matched my own miss and matching me this year is a sure fail.

At least he has the graciousness to say: “No doubt, my 2015 predictions will be wildly off!” But then, like Tom, he went on to provide some o-so-serious analysis of why he made the predictions he made, including for a Black Swan event.

Like I said last year: “Dude! Your analysis makes such perfect sense your predictions are almost sure to be wrong!”

Last year in accepting his win for the Close, Chris K said: “I am almost blushing except for the fact there as no skill involved in this prediction.” No consistency either, Chris!

He missed the Close this time by a full 180 points and was a pathetic 244 off the High. But off 47 for the Low he at least smoked the dude!

As I said at the time: “No worries Chris, your new predictions are sure to prove no skill is involved.”

For last year’s Low? How much more can we beat up on poor Reepekg?

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


Poor goats. Always on the edge.

The Big Losers…

This year about the stupidest thing you could do was to follow my lead. And, indeed, two contestants were just that stupid:

frugalfighterpilot chose his numbers “Reasoning: To be one(1) better than Mr. Collins in every category.”

This earned him the fourth worst performance on the High and the third worst on the Close. Ever hopeful, he further wanted to know: “Do ‘Price is Right’ rules apply in stock market picks too?”

Ah, no. Not that it matters for you.

forestbound admitted “I have not (emphasis mine) ONE CLUE…” Then he proved it when “…I took Jim’s numbers and upped each one by 3. Why? Because, I’m a crazy (read “lazy”) optimist!”

This bit of cluelessness earned him an even more terrible performance than frugalfighterpilot. His was the third worst for the High and the second worst for the Close.

Guys, stealing a phrase from my pal Jeremy at Go Curry Cracker:

“Think of everything you read here as being written by your unemployed Cousin Larry who wants to borrow $20”

Two years ago, 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 few have done better since. But last year? Last year, not so much…

For 2014 Rob was our biggest, and wrongest, optimist calling for a high off the mark by a whopping 522. He also posted the second worst performance in the closing category, off by 424. His low missed by only 110, saving him from a clean sweep in the goats’ placing. Still, it was enough to crown Rob 2014’s biggest loser!

He’s come up in the world. For 2015 his High was only second worst at 482 off and his Close, off by 317, was only less ugly than the five very worst performers. Only nine people missed the Low by more than his 133 mark.

In entering for 2015 year Rob told us:

“The *real* reason I didn’t win this year (2014) 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’.”  Ah, how exactly?

He also pointed out: “…at this point I am still at 50%! Pretty impressive statistics over two years.”

And now you are at 33%, Rob. Bet I could get a jump start and begin composing how you’ll be at 25% this time next year….

Merk entered first and came in near the bottom: 331 off the High for fifth worse and 347 off the Close for fourth. Only the top five Low losers did worse than his Low, off 162. Merk told us:  “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.”

Right you are Merk, you don’t. And random.org doesn’t either. At least you didn’t follow me.

While the losers for the High and Close were frequently the same, those for the Low tended to be one offs. In descending order…

Fifth worst was george fritz hahn, off by 168 points. Refering to his prior year’s poor showing, in entering he complained: “What! I’m not the biggest loser?”

Originally posting as The New Mexico Lobo, his pessimistic predictions went on to earn him the title of biggest loser in the 2013 contest. For 2014 he was only an ordinary loser and this year a disappointing fifth.

You’re still not the biggest, george fritz hahn, but you’re a solid loser none-the-less.

Fourth, and off by 187, we have Charlie Jax. Charlie also placed fifth worst for the Close, off 332. Off 281, his High prediction was no great shakes either. A man of few words, Charlie said he: “did research and stuff.” Not enough, Charlie. Not enough.

Third worse, off 199, was Reepekg. Really. What more can we say about poor Reepekg?

Well, we can say he did better than Dollar Flipper, who came in second at 216 off.

To be the #1 worst predictor for the Low in 2015 you had to miss it by a whopping 259 points. Done by Forty done did it. In making his predictions, he said:

“I didn’t place this year (2014)…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.”

Difference is, DbyF, around here those same numbers can make things even worse. This ain’t some easy walk in the park like Roulette!

But for overall worst of the worst, the prize goes to Mrs EconoWiser. Her High was off a wopping 619 and her Close by 613. In her Low, off by 131, she was embarrassingly close to Rob Diesel. Not where you want to be this year. Or last. Or likely in 2016.

She failed in 2014, although less badly, using the “stock fairy” for guidance. This time she told us she “Sent the failing stock fairy back to her family and have now consulted a magic rainbow unicorn.” Maybe it’s time to put the unicorn out to pasture and see if that fairy is still talking to you, Mrs. EW.

Odds and ends…

From those who ended in that vast grey area of not winning and not being truly wretched, let’s look for a moment as to how they arrived at their oh-so-unimpressive numbers.

Mary: “I was born in one of those years.”

Too bad you weren’t born in 2131, 1868 or 2044, Mary.

ak907: “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…”

While it didn’t much effect the markets, you were sadly spot on regarding ISIS.

fatchance: “When I asked you to close 2 days early (for the 2014 contest), 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 told fatchance bribes are absolutely an option and, looking at my predictions, clearly I absolutely control the markets. Still, no bribe was forth-coming. Instead, this year all he had to offer was:

“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.”

Danny: “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.”

Maybe not.

Seth: “I’ve got a guy.” Get another guy Seth, get another guy.

Matt V.: “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.”

Great analysis, and even occasionally right – on the bumpy ride and (slightly) on interest rates. But, sadly, no help in your market predictions.

Matt: “Here’s your winner…I used the classic method of analyzing P/E ratios against my fantasy football success to arrive at those numbers.”

Great! But, er, where’s my winner?

Kay: “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.”

Glad you like them, Kay. But they weren’t correct for 2015. I haven’t checked for 1908.

Jason R.: “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.”

Even after hedging all his bets, Jason still got it wrong.

Prob8: “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.”

Hedging like Jason R. Even more analysis than Matt V. Wrong like both.

Prob8 has failed miserably in the past as well, laying off the blame on batteries: “My market predictor must need new batteries. Having now replaced said batteries…” nothing changed.

Still, we love Prob8. An estate attorney he 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.

Jeremy (Go Curry Cracker): 

“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

“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?!)”

No need to drag in the SEC or consult your esoteric sources, GCC. Victory can be yours. See my advice to fatchance and think Oreos!

Randellman: “Here’s my picks for 2015… Highly unprobable but just as likely. Happy New Year!”

Highly unprobable and unlikely as it turns out. But Happy New Year to you, R-man, as well!

Keylay: “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.”

Later Keylay posted again: “Ok, now that I’m sober, I decided to create a little spreadsheet.”

Drunk or sober, averaging or not, spreadsheet or no; Keylay’s poor result is the same.

Frankie’s Girl: “Ha! 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!)”

Ah, you did better when you found it strange and scary. Just sayin’, you know?

Brian: “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.”

Hope that retirement doesn’t depend on your market predicting skills there, Brian.

Rockethania: “Why? who knows!”

Who indeed, Rockethania? Other than not you.

MaxTheTerrible: “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…”

Impressive. Hard to believe it didn’t work Max.

brandon: “Should be easy…” But it wasn’t.

ahonnett: “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.”


Then there were the latecomers…

Of course, cheating as they did, these players late to the party had no chance of being awarded our fabulous prize. This didn’t keep them from trying. Or from being mocked.

randy: “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.”

His predictions probably were better than most of the talking heads. But not good enough around here. BTW, how are his being-on-time lessons coming?

Arnold: “I am assuming it will be a down market and just want to do it for the fun of it.”

Well, it was flat not down. But was it fun?

Mrs. HealthyWealth: “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.”

May I assume you and your psychic are ready with the correct 2015 numbers now?

David Schmidt: “Although too late to be official, I can still be in on the fun.”

Unfortunately, too late to win too, Dave. Oh. Wait. That’s not going to be a problem, is it?

Benedicte: “Well, I am just a little be late (April!!!) 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!”

I warned him:

“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!”

In return he whined:

“Oh come on, I did not even know you guys existed at the time I was supposed to have given my predictions!”

Too bad you couldn’t have been on time, Benedicte. Your call on the High, off only 14 points, would have tied our winner Tom. Of course you did it with only 2/3rds of the year left.

And how did that unfair advantage help with the other categories?

Well, his Low missed by 321 and his Close, a miserable 496, would have disgraced him even further. Only the hapless Mrs. EconoWiser managed to do worse. But she did play by the rules.

Finally, Ivan chimed in during December (!) predicting some futures trades. You might want to check out some reading comprehension courses there, Ivan.

Enough of the past…

Think you can do better? Maybe, like Mrs. EconoWiser, you have stock fairies talking to you?

Here’s how it works.

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, 2016. And put in a line or two as to why so I’ll have something to mock you with when you fail.

You have until the close of trading: 4 pm EST, Friday January 15th.

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.com and all those TV talking heads. While we’re all making predictions, unlike them, around here we know we’re just talking out of 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. (Actually, there is every reason. But letting that stop you would require good sense.)

For those who did well, let’s see you do it again. I dare ya! Mocking your failure will be even sweeter!

Don’t feel bad. In all likelihood, you’ll get to mock me too. Here is my analysis and my 2016 predictions:

You would have been forgiven if you had gone to bed on January 1, 2015, slept thru the year and woke up on January 1, 2016 thinking nothing had happened during a short nap. I can’t recall a flatter year end result in the markets than this one:

  • Dow -2.2%
  • S&P -.7%

As expected, the media put on the most negative spin possible. No less than the Wall Street Journal ran this headline: US Stocks post worst annual losses since 2008 Really? This is what you come up with for an overall market loss of less than one percent?

The more accurate description? Slightly up, pancake flat:

  • S&P -.7% + dividends = up 1.4%
  • The tech heavy NASDAQ up 5.7%

But where is the fear in that?

At least they didn’t go with this one:

Nightmare on Wall Street: Will the Blood Bath Continue?

(Worth reading, along with Mr. Market’s Wild Ride, if 2016’s ugly start has you spooked)

Since we are starting 2016 almost precisely where we started 2015, here are my predictions:

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

Astute readers will note these numbers are precisely the same as last year.

Had I been right on a strong positive close for 2015, I would now be expecting a bear during 2016. But I wasn’t. If I’m right this time, and we close up 427 points on the year, I’ll expect that bear in 2017.

We did get the correction I expected, although it came in the Fall instead of the Spring. Along the way, the market absorbed numerous body blows and the resulting volatility. But in the end it was still standing, undiminished.

I think that sets the stage for a another good year. In essence, the same one I predicted for 2015 but even more likely given how well the market has held up to the pressures.

Again, I expect a correction in the 10-15% range, most likely in the first half. In fact, we might be having it right now. (As I write this, the first four trading days have the S&P 500 down ~4.9%) 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 peer into 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. My stock fairies just as…

…well, I don’t actually have any stock fairies.

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. (Oh boy, can I ever!) We’ll see come next New Year’s Eve.

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

Happy new year

May Your 2016 be Healthy, Happy, Free and Prosperous!

And on your journey remember:

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

                                                                               Jack Canfield


My profound thanks goes out to reader ael who took it upon himself to tabulate all the entries into an easy to use spreadsheet. He then graciously and without complaint custom tailored it to my finicky specifications. In doing so he removed much of the tedium and time involved in creating this results post, allowing more of my effort to focus on the mocking so dear to my heart.

But then, he made a mistake. He offered his own set of predictions, complete with this rational:

“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’s 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)”

I worried about it not a whit which, as it happened was one of my better calls for 2015. The results this system of ael’s produced were nothing short of pathetic.

He missed the High by 294, the Low by 112 and the close by 296. Moron.

Oh, and ael, can I count on your help again this year my friend?

Addendum 1: Past contest posts

Past Post Update, January 20, 2016:

Last October I did a post on: Stockchoker.com

Todd just added two cool new features:

  • Stock Wars: A tool that allows you to compare the performance of two stocks and/or funds.
  • Quizzes: I took both. I’m a “goat” in the first and a “coyote” in the second. You can do better. I dare ya!

On a different note:

The Case Studies are some of my favorite posts and it is always fun when one of our subjects checks in with a follow-up. EmJay did just that this week in his comment to his Case Study from 2013.

Important Resources:

  • Vanguard.com (unfortunately Vanguard doesn’t have an affiliate program)
  • Empower* is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you’ll see what’s working and what you might want to change. Here’s my full review.
  • Betterment* is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • YNAB* has the best budgeting tools going and just might be the Best Place to Work Ever
  • Tuft & Needle helps me sleep at night. Unfortunately they are no longer an affiliate, but still a very cool company and a great product.

*These are affiliate links and should you chose to do business with them, this blog will earn a small commission.

Unrelated, but here’s what I’m currently or have just finished reading and enjoyed:


Turbo Capitalism

If you are interested in income inequality, this poorly titled (should have been Unfettered Capitalism – more accurate and more descriptive) is a great discussion of the pros and cons of our current system. Luttwak clearly has his own biases, but is remarkable evenhanded in presenting both sides.

Written in the late 1990s, it is a bit of a time capsule and fun to see how the past 20 years have actually unfolded.

Leave it to Psmith

“Crime not objected to.”

One of my favorite characters from a favorite author. If you like it, here are two more:

” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Mike and Psmith

” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Psmith Journalist

Jack Reacher roams around the country carrying only a folding toothbrush. When his clothes get dirty he buys new ones. Oh, and he kills lots of bad guys. “Make Me” is the most recent in the series, but not the best. That might be this one:

""” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Persuader

First line: “People do not give it credence that a fourteen-year-old girl could leave home and go off in the wintertime to avenge her father’s blood but it did not seem so strange then, although I will say it did not happen every day.”

Last Line: “This ends my true account of how I avenged Frank Ross’s blood over in the Choctaw Nation when snow was on the ground.”

How we came to be what we are, behave the way we do and believe what we believe. My favorite in this group.

Where people who live to be 100+ live, how they live and what they eat.

Bad monkeys are Sapiens that need killing, and Jane is on the job. If you are already paranoid, you might want to skip chapter: white room (iv)

Why the future might be incredibly good. Unless the grey goo gets us.

This might be the most enlightening and entertaining take on American history I’ve yet to read.

And here are some of my all time favorites:

The book that has most influenced how I live my life.

Deceptively simple, but really all you need to know about becoming wealthy.

Very possibly my all-time favorite novel.

“The Fall of Edward Barnard” is very possibly my all-time favorite short story.

Perfect for the readers of this blog.

“Bartleby the Scrivener” is very possibly my all-time favorite novella. Don’t be put off if you struggled with Melville’s “Moby Dick.” This is a much better and easier read. Plus it will teach you the most important phrase in the English language:

“I would prefer not to.”

*If you click on the books you’ll go to Amazon, an affiliate partner. Should you choose buy them, or anything else while you there, this blog will receive a small commission. This doesn’t affect what you pay.

Subscribe to JL’s Newsletter

Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.
  • Vanguard.com


  1. Draggon says

    Bah! If it weren’t for Tom – and those 3 people that obviously got lucky on their Highs – and that full gaggle of blind squirrels that found their acorn with their Lows, I coulda BEEN Somebody!

    Enough wallowing… I just texted HRC, explained my predicament on how I was mistreated here, and she says that as the winner of the upcoming presidential election, she’d be glad to feed me the top-secret scrolls of the NSA’s market predictions.

    Well, obviously, I didn’t want to take undue unfair advantage of my enviable connections, so I just read the High and Close from their report and am focusing my advanced skills on improving my Low prediction for 2016.

    Without further distraction:

    High 2250
    Low 1753
    Close 1840

    Feel free to copy & paste! 🙂

  2. Danny says

    I’m laughing so hard as to my reason for what I picked last year. The funnier part is I don’t even work with the same “professionals”, or company rather, anymore. Guess I’ll just have figure it out on my own then. That said here are my predictions for 2016:

    High: 2150
    Low: 1838
    Dec. 31st, 2016: 2081

    Please note: All numbers were selected from the Random 4 Digit Generator . Lets see if that makes any difference 🙂

  3. Aperture says

    I have no background in markets nor basis on which to make predictions. That is why I rely on my Ouija board.

    High: 2203
    Low: 1709
    Close: 1942

  4. OnlyKetchup says

    Yay! Excited I get to participate this year! Found it too late last year.

    I’m using a very scientific method known as the Jenny algorithm. I’ve had my computer cluster crunching numbers all year using our good old friend Jenny’s phone number (8675309). Without further ado, I’m predicting a fairly flat year, slightly up from 2015:

    Low – 1867 (1 & 867)
    High – 2413 (5309/2.2)
    Close 2220 (5309/2.5)

    For a good time call!

      • Math Guy says

        And it’s the sole reason all phone numbers on TV start with 555. How many songs have that effect on our culture?

      • OnlyKetchup says

        Yep, was a fun email exchange. Appreciate Jim making sure people weren’t posting other people’s actual phone numbers 🙂

        The “For a good time call” is also a lyric in the song, for those unaware.

  5. Linda says

    Yes! I’m not a goat!!

    Glad to see my “serious economic analysis” *really* paid off there… For 2016 I’m going to consult with my cats, maybe that will provide a winning prediction?

    OK after an extensive consultation paid for in cat treats, Max has predicted an excellent High, while cautious Sam chose our Low pick for 2016. My advisers say:

    High (Max): 2248
    Low (Sam): 2146
    Close (my choice): 2222

    “Has anyone tried averaging all of the previous guesses to see where the average ended up?”
    Dammit, that was my idea… thanks for showing us that it’s completely useless…

    Thanks ael for your spreadsheet help, and Mr Collins for your truly scathing mockery!!

  6. Raakesh says

    I divine the following numbers for 2016:-

    1676 Close, 1940 High, 1532 Low.

    These numbers have been revealed to me by the very gods themselves. Or was it my hallucinations. Maybe just some random numbers, with which I’ve been careful enough not to mix up the highs & lows.

  7. Mike 4 says

    High – 2344
    Low – 1744
    Close – 2144

    Sticking with my 44s. Overall, not much will change and I imagine it staying pretty flat for the year.

  8. prob8 says

    Good thing I don’t get paid to predict the market and nobody is relying on my market-related gibberish.

    I think this year will be pretty volatile with a disappointing end. Here are my predictions:

    High: 2084
    Low: 1737
    Close: 1840

    I look forward to being a goat.

  9. T-Mat says

    Alright, I’ve been reading this blog for a while, but never posted anything, so I’ll give it a try this year. I have purposely refrained from looking at any previous posts before posting this so as not to be influenced by their undoubted expertise.

    High: 2248
    Low: 1737
    Close on Dec. 31, 2016: 2146

    Unless my math is wrong, these numbers equal a high 10% above the end of 2015, a low of 15% below the end of 2015, and a close 5% above the end of 2015. I sure hope I am way off though, and that Mr. Collins takes home the trophy again (at least for his prediction of the close).

  10. Keylay says

    It is with sober mind and not a spreadsheet open in sight that I predict the following:
    High: 2253
    Low: 1784
    Close: 2198
    If I’m right this year, I’m going to chalk it up to the Tumeric Ginger tea I’m currently enjoying.

  11. Arpit says

    Here are my prediction for 2016.

    High: 2190
    Low: 1780
    Close: 2020

    I have put so many minutes of effort to come up with this prediction. Let’s see how close I am 🙂

  12. mike says

    The Blue Zone. Good book.

    So here are my favorite books, and they’re all about nutrition:

    Don’t Forget Your Fiber by Denis Burkitt. Dr Burkitt might ring a bell for Burkitt’s Syndrome. But his real claim to fame is being known as the fiber doctor. Dr Burkitt worked in Africa, mid 20th century, and wondered why rural Africans suffer almost none of the diseases of Western man. Such as heart disease, diverticulosis, diabetes, obesity, et al, mostly known as diseases of affluence. He literally would get stool samples, put them in the trunk of his car and go back to his lab to study them.

    The China Stucy by T Colin Campbell. One of the greatest epidemmiological ever done. And IMO the greatest book ever written about nutrition. If you don’t read the book, at least go to Youtube and watch Dr Campbell speak. Very powerful.

    The Pleasure Trap by Doug Lisle and Alan Goldhammer. Can’t say enough of this book.

    How To Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr Caldwell Esselstyn. I’ve seen Dr Esselstyn speak several times, and in his speech he says, “Heart disease is a toothless paper tiger and it need never exist….” Pretty ballsy, but if you were to read the book, it will turn your world upsidedown.

    One last word: Want to see absolute brilliance? Watch a series of Nathan Pritiken on Youtube. The guy wasn’t a doctor, but I just marvel at the wisdom this man had.

  13. marcel says

    I don’t know anything about S&P apart from the range of numbers I’ve seen in this post and its comments.
    Furthermore, I’m trying not to listen to/read about/hear news of any kind.
    So… I’m as qualified as it gets to authoritatively announce the likely results for 2016.

    high = 2438
    low = 1876
    2016-12-31 = 2101

    If I fail it will be because ‘something unexpected’ happens. If do well it’s because I’m awesome.

    P.S. Have a great 2016 and keep up the good work

  14. Emu says

    Consensus here in Houston is that 2016 will be gloomy, with oil leading the economy lower, lower. I’ll buy in, with apologies to those who’ve already retired…I hope and predict that the market will tank for a couple years, wife and I keep our jobs in the midst of it, buy buy buy while the market’s low, and we join you in retirement on the other side. Keep up the good work JLC.

    High: 2024
    Low: 1678
    Close: 1758

    I preemptively attribute any discrepancies to the results of the presidential election.

  15. Clint says

    Immediately upon waking up on the morning of 1/1/2016, I had the song “Steal Away” by Robbie Dupree stuck in my head.

    It’s going to be a terrible year.

    High: 2080
    Low: 1578
    Close: 1896

  16. Tom says

    Alright, let’s see if I can do this two years in a row!!!!!

    High: 2194
    Low: 1771
    Close: 2088

    No analysis this year. I honestly have no clue. Things seem very weird in the markets.

  17. LeisureSuit says

    High: 2145
    Low: 1835
    Close: 2050

    These predictions made possible by the letters C, A, S, and H. Also, I visited Mr Rukeyser’s grave on Long Island and communed with his spirit. Apparently, the Manhattan’s are really good in heaven.

  18. ak907 says

    High: 2137
    Low: 1866
    Close: 2042

    Stab in the dark.

    You should try averaging the results of all the entrants and see how that compares to the actual market. Supposedly there sometimes can be wisdom in the crowd average with these things, could be interesting.

  19. L. Predicktator says

    High: 2,222
    Low: 1,769
    Close: 1,801

    The devil told me so. Being a weasel, he wouldn’t tell me if Hillary Clinton would be the next president, though. Actually, he wasn’t a weasel. He was a figment of my imagination, much like the numbers above.

    Expresso 2222 is one of my favorite Brazilian songs. Very cheerful music to counteract my sadness when that number is way off next year. Here’s a link: https://youtu.be/wVEZzX214FQ

    • jlcollinsnh says

      I’m istening to it as I review these comments.

      If your predictions are as good as your taste in music, you’re golden!

  20. Scrooge McDuck says

    High 2043
    Low 1635
    Close 1798

    I’ll play the bear. I read a guru somewhere saying whenever corporate profits go negative for two consecutive quarters, the stock market has always come down at least 20%. And I want to keep Raakesh company.

  21. MarciaB says

    When the moon is in the 7th house and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars:

    High – 2310
    Low – 1718
    Close on Dec 31 2016: – 1880

  22. lifemaximize says

    Long-time reader, first time commenter. Couldn’t resist taking part!

    High: 2016
    Low: 1492
    Close: 1985

    Rationale gleaned from 5 minutes looking at the 20-year S&P chart and predicting patters will somewhat repeat themselves, then converted those prices to great years in history…

    2016 is the year in question, plus it will be a great year because I will retire at age 41 (in part because of your advice to sell our home, invest the proceeds, and rent)
    1492 is the year he sailed the ocean blue
    1985 is the year we were introduced to Marty McFly, Doc, and the DeLorean)

  23. Mary says

    Well since the birth year thing didn’t pan out, this year I’ll just go with pseudo non-random numbers this time.

    High 2345
    Low 1959 (ok, I lied, imma try the year thing one more time)
    Last 2222

  24. Mrs EconoWiser says

    OMG! I WON? I’d like to thank my family and especially my very reliable unicorn and…huh…I won worst of the worst?!
    I asked the magic unicorn how this was even possible. It laughed at me and said its predictions were a year off. It told me I hadn’t listened properly and that I should submit the same numbers again…and that I’d definitely win first prize. It tricksed me!

    So here goes:

    High: 2750
    Low: 1999
    Dec. 31st, 2016: 2657

  25. Krishanu says

    Oh boy, first place for the Low of 2015, I must be the Great Seer! (and very objectively ignores the miserable High and Close)

    If I may again for 2016:
    High – 2257
    Low – 1803
    Close – 2201

    Based on ….nothing.

    [On a side note, I can’t help but mention how your Stock Series keeps on influencing people. Thanks!]

  26. MaxTheTerrible says

    Well, the Future Predictor 1000, clearly didn’t work, so the plan going forward is to break it down and test each module individually. Osseous tissue ballistics block comes up with the following:
    High 2075
    Low 1775
    Close 1975

  27. jimcramer says

    Hi jlcollinsnh, this was an entertaining post, but not as entertaining as my hit TV show Mad Money (tune in at 6EST on CNBC)! My loyal viewers know this is a year to SellSellSell when the market reaches its high of 2134 and BuyBuyBuy when the market reaches its low of 1797. Then we’ll ring in 2017 with a close of 2001 and a huge booyah to all your readers!

  28. Chris K says

    Even though my 2015 predictions sucked, I appreciate the mention of my “lack of consistency” and overall “lack of skill.” I would feel bad except I just read an article about Jim Cramer’s stock picking prowess. Let me put it this way: there is a reason why advertiser’s pay the bills for shows like his.

    High: 2300
    Low: 1825
    Close: 2100

    This year’s predictions are based on two things:
    1) High and low- My even year number random number generator picked these. Apparently, it does not work for odd years.
    2) Close – because Goldman Sachs is predicting this and we know they are all making obscene amounts of money only because they have a Crystal Ball none of us do.

  29. ael says

    Hi James,

    Despite the well deserved insults (moron?) I shall try again and yes you can even count on my help again this year. In fact I’ve begun entering the numbers already and (apologies to ak907 and I believe Keylay from last year) plan to use them for my very own crowd sourced entry=average (+1 to add strength to the prediction). Of course that will have to wait until the last moment like an ebay auction. But even if I’m a few minutes over the deadline I’ll count on my connections and transparency to earn a waiver. Besides the world is run by those who show up with their spreadsheets! ie, I could cheat? . . . to be continued 2016/01/15

  30. Math Guy says

    I know I’m right, “the market will go up, then down, then probably up again, finally it will repeat that at least a few times throughout the year.”

    High- 2415
    Low- 1904

  31. Jeff D says

    Longtime lurker first time comment. First many thanks for all you do JLC. I think this year is going to be bumpy, and the market won’t be as resilient. Profits will up, but the market won’t return the favor.


    And who the hell knows, just like everybody else just made the numbers up except ending everything with 88. Peace out JD

  32. Daniel H says

    I have almost 100% confidence in these predictions:

    High: Some real number ≥ 2020.37
    Low: Some nonnegative real number ≤ 1902.11. Assuming that the contest is actually judged, I’ll even refine this to “positive real number”.
    Close: Some real number between the high and the low, inclusive.

    Oh, you want something more precise than that? Fine.

    High: 2131
    Low: 1868
    Close: 2044

    I got these numbers by failing to read the word “no” in the sentence “Past performance is no guarantee of future results” from some paper on the Vanguard website, and then noticing that the 2015 open was close to the 2016 open so the rest of the year must also be similar.

    • Daniel H says

      (I found the Vanguard paper by Googling the phrase, because I knew that it and variations of it were everywhere)

  33. Dan M. says

    Love this blog! First time commenter, long-time reader.

    Okay, let’s try to justify my random numbers. The Chinese economy and instability in the Middle East will weigh on investors in the early part of the year, leading to a decline that will last through March. Things will pick up through the rest of the year, for a strong finish. Obama will leave office with some economic bragging rights.

    High: 2320
    Low: 1769
    Close: 2285

  34. Mattattack says

    Well, I hate to break it to you folks but, this newbie here is gonna take y’all back to school. I can indubitable tell you what the High, Low and Close will be for 2016. I can even tell you when they will occur (to the nearest month at least). Without further ado:

    High: 2321 Late Nov
    Low:1820 Late Feb
    Close:2309 Late Dec

    If you notice, the last 2 digits of each number are 21, 20, 09 – the jersey numbers of Spurs greats: Tim, Manu and Parker and thus my inspiration. Good luck to everyone else for second place.

  35. Andrew O says

    Jim –

    I can’t resist being part of a roast next year, so here is all the material you’ll need on me come next year:

    High: 2087
    Low: 1676
    Close: 1721

    Pretty pessimistic about this year, but I’ll be more than happy to take a verbal beating if the year is much more positive.


  36. Yermak Timofeyevich says

    I consulted some Tatar shamans in Siberia, added it to the numbers that my fellow Don Cossacks wrote down. I collected all the numbers and sent them afloat down the Volga river. I waited for ten days and sent out fishermen to seek the numbers in the river. I was waiting for the first fisherman to come with the set of numbers, but I ran out of time, so I just gave it my best guess.

    There is some serious math behind these practices so I am sure I will win.

  37. Stephen says

    I’m a little late to the party, but my go-to expert on the matter was busy running his super-secret algorithm. Just got off the phone with him, and here are the numbers he came up with:

    High: 2310
    Low: 1745
    Close: 2023

    For those interested, my source can be found here: goo.gl/j6Q3Xp

  38. Jason says

    I love these predictions. First time and I will take a stab. I think we are in a bear market and will be in one for the next 12-18 months (it started in May of last year).

    High: 2043
    Low: 1528
    Close: 1842

  39. Irish Introvert says

    Okay, so this is my very first year participating and I basically have the financial knowledge of a toddler. With that being the case, I decided to go straight to those money experts extraordinaire – the Leprechauns at the end of the rainbow (the very ones who feed and water Mrs. EW’s unicorn). They’ve told me the following:

    High: 2136
    Low: 1695
    Close: 2109

    Of course, they were pretty drunk at the time so who knows?

  40. AZ Mike says

    It’s a presidential election year, and I’ve read the market historically does well in an election year, but the Fed started to raise rates and China’s nuts! Therefore, I’m throwing this against the wall to see if it sticks:

    High: 2045
    Low: 1710
    Close: 1971

  41. IndigoCZ says

    I have to say it was a shock to learn that I wasn’t completely off course this year. But now that my supernatural financial sense is finally confirmed, I can predict the following:

    High: 2017
    Low: 1873
    Close: 1995

  42. Dingle says

    This is my first year posting a prediction but after reading through all of the quality mocking, I’ve got to participate. Plus, I’ve been watching you all screw it up for years so clearly that’ll give me the advantage.

    High: 2232
    Low: 1873
    Close: 1947

  43. Mrs. Healthywealth says

    I’m pretty sure I’m going to be right this year. Here it goes:

    High: 2200
    Low: 1780
    Close: 1920

    Man, someone should pay me to make predictions for a living. I hope you’re gonna give me a nice prize Jim

  44. ael says

    As promised here are the crowd sourced data +1 (assuming no one sneaks in in next 5 minutes):

    High 2218
    Low 1773
    Close 2048

    How much safer and more blending in can you get? This approach should at least also earn me no more than an average rebuke.

  45. jlcollinsnh says

    Our contest is now officially closed…

    …and, looking over the entries…

    Turns out I am this year’s wild-eyed optimist, the rest of you seemingly spooked by the tough first few days.

    —The next closest for the High is Jeff D., 45 points lower than my 2533 call.

    —Mattattack is closest to me on the Low, predicting a close 162 points lower than my 2471

    With my lock on the wins, they are sure to take the #2 spot in those categories.

    —For the Low, 2/3rds of you are more pessimistic than I and 1/3rd more optimistic.

    Worse, Yermak Timofeyevich matched my 1812 call, so I guess I’ll be stuck sharing the winning honors with him. But using Tatar shamans he kind of cheated.

    Speaking of the Low, we closed today at 1880. Only 68 more points to get down to my (and YT’s) number.

    It has been a record rough start to the year. We are down ~8% since December 31st and ~12% since last year’s high of 2131 in May.

    There is an old saying that the trading on the first day (or first week or first month, depending on what it needs to be to work) predicts the full year. If so, fasten your seat belts and accumulate shares at bargain prices. The bear is here and those of you with the uglier predictions are looking good.

    As for me, I’ll stick with my sure to be dead on numbers. Oddly, frugalfighterpilot and forestbound, who tied their predictions to mine in 2015, failed to show this year and none of the rest of you followed their lead. Wonder why.

    Indeed the attrition rate year-to-year is shocking. Few it would appear can stand to face their failures and fewer still are willing to try to repeat their success. Instead, they have cravenly (wisely?) avoided entering the arena for another bout of humiliation.

    Still, try as I might to belittle those who play, some bold (foolhardy?) souls return and new players, in their innocence, take up the challenge.

    Here’s to a rollicking good time in 2016!

    • Mr. FC says

      Damn I missed out!!!! So frustrated with myself…laziness has been the watchword in 2016.

      I will venture a guess and if it makes it in, great, if not I have no one to blame but myself…thanks Jim!

      High: 2256. Why? It’s a 20 pct bounce from Friday’s close, and that number has been good to me lately. I’ve lost 20 lbs in the last few years, I’m 2×20 years old, and these days I wish my kids were 20 so I could get a decent night’s rest. That’d be nice.
      Low: 1692. Mainly another 10 pct drop from here. Why? It’s a nice round number and adds to 30 when combined with the predicted rise. It makes no sense but neither does this contest.
      Close: 1705. We’re in for it this year. The bird shat in the yard twice today. We saw deer crossing the road. A parked car makes no sound. A smile and a wink are the secret to a long and happy marriage. I sound like I know something. Trust me, I don’t.

  46. Jeremy E. says

    So I’m a little bit late, but in my defense I had already made my prediction, just on the wrong post,

    High – 2420
    Low – 1875
    Close – 2375

  47. Cemo says

    I’m 2 weeks late, but screw it, the cool kids always arrive last at parties. I have employed the ancient art of tasseography and thus predict that the market will behave in the following way:

    High: 2095 reached in 2nd quarter of 2016
    Low: 1642 reached around fall-winter 2016
    Close: 1766 on December 31st

    If I nail this, I expect a phone call from GS and a work visa.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Besides, you’re not really interested in the contest.

      You just wanted to make me look up “tasseography.” 😉

  48. Pooperman says

    Mock me if I fail. I’m late and out of the running, but I’m still curious. I have a running prediction from a few years ago that’s due soon. Anyway, on to prediction.

    I have the same feeling about this year as I did last year–going nowhere fast. Things are pricy and a recession is on the horizon. However, I predicted 2.5 years ago that the recession would be in the first half of 2017, so I’ll say that won’t affect market prices just yet.

    High: 2288
    Low: 1880 (I figure we’ve hit our low, but I can’t be bothered to look it up, so putting something close. This one is cheating).
    Close: 2192

    Ok, I lied. I expect the recession might affect the end of the year.

  49. Clint says

    Eagerly awaiting 2016’s wrap up!

    You know, ’cause I want to be recognized for how skillfully I predicted every milestone last year.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Well, you’ll have a chance to practice patience and perhaps to learn to live with disappointment. 🙂

      I’m in SE Asia until March and this is a bear of a post to pull together. Not sure I’ll have the time, inclination or internet connection needed.

      Maybe in April.

      We’ll see.

      At least that should make 2017 predictions easier…

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