Although I’m a bigger fan of reacting to important fundamental inflection point news AFTER the fact rather than making decisions on far off in the future predictions, I do find it useful to crystallize my current leanings and thoughts. As always I reserve the right to change my mind at any time as new data-points are released. Here it goes:
1. After some volatility in January from macro headlines in Europe, SodaStream stock will sky higher in the first half of 2012 on spectacular quarterly financial results in February and May. The company’s European revenue will surprisingly be stable due to better management of the Nordic distributor acquisition, U.S. sales will continue to impress from the store roll-out, and the Walmart deal will be announced. How the company does in the second half of 2012 is less clear.
2. At some point in the year Green Mountain Coffee growth will slow down markedly as consumers grow weary of the brewer and K-Cup price increases. After the stock falls, Starbucks will acquire the company at a large premium.
3. Netflix net subscriber adds will continue to disappoint as customers flee and Starz video content disappears. The stock will get crushed low enough where Amazon, Microsoft, Google, or Apple (not Facebook, sorry Herb) will buy the company at a large premium.
4. U.S. economic growth will sputter. The Fed will panic once again and do QE3 through large-scale mortgage securities purchases.
5. Gamestop will underperform on the fading video-game console cycle and the lack of blockbuster titles in 2012 vs. the previous two years.
6. SINA Corporation Weibo (Chinese Twitter) user growth will plummet as new real-name government regulations take effect.
7. Social network casual gaming growth will decelerate and Zynga will suffer. The "Curse of JR" will strike again for Electronic Arts as the company acquired social networking and casual gaming companies at "top of the cycle" prices and valuations.
8. Nintendo’s Wii U console and Sony’s Vita portable gaming handheld will both flop hard in the U.S. as casual and mobile gaming continues to shift to tablets, smart-phones, and iPod Touch platforms.
9. Google Places will not gain any traction. Google will wind up acquiring Yelp or TripAdvisor to compensate.
10. The Dallas Cowboys will show just enough flashes of brilliance to get my hopes up, then punch me in the gut by choking and failing miserably in the end. (I had to put one no-brainer on this list)