5 Stock Predictions for 2015

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Chris O'Meara/APExpect to see "Star Wars" characters like Chewbacca a lot in 2015 -- and for the latest movie in the series to help Disney.
It's that time of the year. Financial writers and analysts break out their crystal balls, peering into what the near future may hold for investors.

There's no point in denying the desire to go out on a limb to see how things play out. Let's give it a shot. Let's make some market predictions, knowing full well that I'll be accountable by the end of 2015.

1. The Market Will Move Higher in 2015

There seem to be a lot of doom-and-gloom market pros out there, warning that 2015 is going to be a bad year. The stock market has moved too high. Interest rates can't stay this low forever. Global tensions are percolating, and the worldwide economic recovery is on the cusp of faltering.

These are the concerns being raised, but these were also the same concerns raised last year, and the market still moved slightly higher in 2014. The boo birds always come out, but historically speaking, the smart money has to be on stocks moving higher.

2. Energy Prices Will Move Higher

The big narrative in recent weeks is how fuel prices are plunging. A barrel of Brent crude oil that was fetching $115 in June has gone on to shed nearly half of its value six months later. Consumers are generally cheering the lower prices at the pump, but the ramifications run far deeper and are more complicated than that.

Countries like Russia and Venezuela that rely heavily on exporting oil are reeling. Some economists are warning of deflationary pressure. However, most folks are generally happy to know that the holiday road trip is cheaper.

Some economists argue that cheap gas is here to stay. Lower consumption given the improving efficiency of appliances and automobiles -- as well as the growing popularity of residential solar panel installations -- should keep increases in check. However, it's hard to see energy prices staying this low for a sustainable period. The uptick in energy prices will likely be minor through 2015, but it should happen.

3. 3-D Printing Stocks Will Bounce Back

There's no denying that futurists pitching 3-D printing as the industry of 2014 missed. Shares of niche leaders 3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS) have taken a beating in 2014 after being some of the hottest stocks in the two previous years.

There was too much hype. The stock prices were inflated. The printers were too expensive and slow for mainstream consumer adoption, and success in health care applications wasn't enough to sustain the high prices.

Now let's look ahead. Analysts see strong growth here. They see both companies posting better than 30% growth in revenue and earnings per share through 2015. The valuations are now reasonable. Both stocks should move higher.

4. Disney Will Move Higher in 2015

One of the big winners among the otherwise sleepy 30 Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) components is Disney (DIS). The stock has nearly doubled over the past two years and has more than tripled over the past five.

The good times should continue in the year ahead with highly anticipated Lucasfilm and Marvel movies hitting the silver screen, improving attendance at its theme parks and broader opportunities to monetize its valuable catalog through digital distribution.

5. Best Buy Will Move Lower in 2015

One of the biggest surprises of 2014 is that Best Buy (BBY) is closing out the year pretty much where it started. The stock that shed nearly half of its value in 2012 before more than tripling in 2013 had a ho-hum performance in 2014. The surprise here is that it didn't crater at a time when its smaller consumer electronics rivals got crushed and its own performance was pretty uninspiring.

Sales were ultimately flat over the past year, and that's also what analysts see in the new fiscal year. That's not very encouraging for investors hoping that the stock moves higher, especially as many online and showrooming trends continue to work against Best Buy.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of 3D Systems, Stratasys and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free report on one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.
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