3 Predictions for This Week

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I went out on a limb last week with mixed results.

  • I banked on Activision Blizzard (NAS: ATVI) setting a new record for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. It did. The leading video game maker posted a record $400 million in first-day sales through North America and the United Kingdom alone, shattering the franchise's old record of $360 million last year.
  • SodaStream (NAS: SODA) reported on Wednesday morning, and I predicted that the stock would move higher on the news. Well, it was a blowout quarter for the company behind the home beverage systems. Shares of SodaStream traded as much as 16% higher, but began to slip during a dreary trading day that saw the Nasdaq fall by nearly 4%. It still clung to a 6% gain by the end of the day.
  • I'm no java junkie, but I am one of the few fans of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NAS: GMCR) these days. Given all of the pessimism surrounding the shares since hedge fund hero David Einhorn KO'd the K-Cup company last month, I figured that it was due for a bounce on earnings. I blew it big time here. Green Mountain posted a rare quarterly miss, failing to effectively debunk Einhorn's bearish thesis.

I did get two out of three right, but the one I missed was a doozy.

Let me once again whip out my trusty, dusty, and occasionally accurate crystal ball to make three calls that may play out over the next few trading days.

1. GameStop's stock will fall on Thursday
Given Activision Blizzard's record-setting Tuesday last week, it's easy to warm up to the video game industry again.

Don't do that. We're now three years into a slump outside of the biggest franchises. We're already starting to see cracks in GameStop (NYS: GME) . Sales, earnings, and comps all tumbled in the video game retailer's previous quarter, yet the stock is somehow trading closer to its 52-week high than its 52-week low.

GameStop has a compelling ecosystem of reward points and discount clubs that get die-hard gamers to justify paying full retail prices for their games. Encouraging trade-ins for in-store credit -- and then selling those trade-ins right back to different gamers at juicy markups -- is brilliant. However, this is still a model that is sorely susceptible to both its sluggish specialty and the shift to digital distribution.

There's a stronger chance that its earnings report on Thursday morning will be bad rather than good, so I'm going to go with a negative market reaction on the results.

2. Amazon.com will be tightlipped about Kindle Fire sales
Tuesday's debut of Amazon.com's (NAS: AMZN) Kindle Fire is going to be huge.

Taiwan's usually reliable DigiTimes is reporting that Amazon has increased its Kindle Fire orders from suppliers twice, and all it has to go on for now is the level of preorders trickling in. If there was ever a time for Amazon to shout the success of its Kindle Fire from the rooftops with an actual initial sales report -- the way that gadget darling Apple (NAS: AAPL) routinely does and the way that Activision Blizzard did last week -- it would be now.

It won't happen. Amazon may put out a glowing press release later in the week, gushing about record sales for a new Kindle introduction or how far along digital books have come in outselling physical books, but Amazon won't deliver an actual number here -- even though it should.

3. NetEase will close higher on Thursday
Shares of Chinese online gaming pioneer NetEase.com (NAS: NTES) fell 7% last week, on fears that many of the 800,000 net cancellations for Activision Blizzard's World of Warcraft in this latest quarter came from China. Apart from having its own popular arsenal of multiplayer fantasy games, NetEase is also Activision Blizzard's licensed partner in China.

The news is probably true, but we can't ignore that NetEase is a serial estimate thumper.

 One of my best tricks to beating the market is finding stocks that perpetually land ahead of the prognosticators. Let's go over NetEase's past year of earnings reports.

 

EPS est.

EPS

Surprise

Q2 2011$0.79$0.9115%
Q1 2011$0.71$0.8621%
Q4 2010$0.70$0.8319%
Q3 2010$0.67$0.636%

Source: Reuters.

Most of the earnings out of China's dot-com companies this season have been solid, so there's little reason to expect NetEase's impressive streak of market-thumping results to end. Wednesday night's third-quarter report should give the stock a well-deserved bounce.

Well, that's three predictions right there. Let's see how I fare this week.

If you want to see how these market calls pan out, consider adding NetEase.com , GameStop, and Amazon.com to My Watchlist to track upcoming news.

At the time this article was published The Motley Fool owns shares of Activision Blizzard, Apple, and GameStop. The Fool owns shares of and has written calls on Activision Blizzard. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Activision Blizzard, Apple, Amazon.com, NetEase.com, SodaStream International, and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple, writing covered calls in GameStop, creating a synthetic long position in Activision Blizzard, and creating a lurking gator position in Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz calls them as he sees them. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.

Copyright © 1995 - 2011 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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