Can You Predict the Future?

I seriously doubt it. And if anyone tells you they can, you should probably ignore them.

To test if you have the power of clairvoyance, let's go back and revisit last year's 11 O'Clock Stock segment, where various Fools recommended stocks at 11 a.m. daily for 50 days, and the Fool put money behind their picks.

No cheating!
I'm going to offer up 10 companies -- all which were part of the aforementioned series -- and what they do. You have to consider the economic climate of the last 12-15 months, and predict which stocks have performed the strongest against the S&P 500, in order. Before going past this chart, write down the order you think they'll come in, then we'll see how you do.


What It Does

Teva Pharmaceutical (NAS: TEVA)

Maker of primarily generic drugs

Annaly Capital (NYS: NLY)

Mortgage real estate investment trust

Apple (NAS: AAPL)

Ruler of the iUniverse

Domino's Pizza (NYS: DPZ)

Pizza delivery


Grid capacity and energy solutions


IT products and services

National Bank of Greece (NYS: NBG)

A bank ... in Greece


Worldwide delivery service provider

Allegiant Travel

Airline company

Telefonica (NYS: TEF)

European and Latin American telecom

Our laggards
Got your answers down? Good! Here we go...

No. 10: National Bank of Greece
If you've been following the global economy lately, this one shouldn't actually be a surprise. The real costs of a Greek default will be very high for this bank. The National Bank of Greece is losing to the S&P 500 by more than 88 percentage points.

No. 9: EnerNOC
Alternative-energy anything should be absolutely popping right now, right? Apparently not; EnerNOC is losing to the S&P 500 by a whopping 79 percentage points. That hasn'tstopped two of our Rising Stars from purchasing shares, though.

No. 8: Teva Pharmaceutical
Though Teva specializes in generic drugs, it does hold the patent on Copaxone. The multiple sclerosis drug accounts for roughly 20% of all sales, and investors seem to be spooked by the fact that the company's patent runs out in 2014. The stock is losing to the S&P 500 by 36 percentage points since entering the 11 o'clock universe.

No. 7: FedEx
Founding Fool David Gardner said he could see this stock doubling over the next five years when he suggested it last year. That may still turn out to be true, but so far, the stock is losing to the S&P 500 by 21 points. I never would have suspected FedEx to finish so low compared to these other companies one year ago.

Our average performers
No. 6: Telefonica
Though the share price hasn't performed very well, Telefonica's 8.6% dividend yield is helping to buoy returns. The telecom with business in Europe and Latin America is currently underperforming the S&P 500 by 14 percentage points.

No. 5: Annaly Capital
There might not be another REIT as popular in the Foolish universe as Annaly Capital. The company, which profits from the spread between short-term interest rates and long-term mortgage rates, has been a favorite of our Rising Stars as well, with Ilan Moscovitz scooping up sharestwice, and Dan Dzombak going in once. The company is trailing the S&P 500 by a single point.

No. 4: Allegiant Travel
If someone would have said that an airline, and an airline under $1 billion at that, would have beat out the likes of FedEx and the S&P 500 in general (by 15 percentage points), I would have said they were crazy. But Allegiant has found a winning model, focusing on transporting residents of small cities -- often ignored by the bigger players -- and bringing them to popular travel destinations.

Our super stars
No. 3: Apple
There's not much I can say about Apple that hasn't already been said. The company has been firing on all cylinders, selling record numbers of iPads and iPhones, and beating the S&P 500 by 37 percentage points. It certainly wouldn't have been a stretch to see Apple among our top three performers one year ago. The main question now: How will the company fare without Steve Jobs?

No. 2: IBM
Though Apple's performance was pretty easy to predict, the fact that it was beat out by stalwart IBM is quite a surprise to me. The fact of the matter is IBM is beating the S&P 500 by a whopping 41 points. The Fool who picked IBM, Eric Bleeker, reviews his pick's performance in a video just released yesterday.

No. 1: Domino's Pizza
But as surprising as IBM or Allegiant might have been to the average investor, the fact that Domino's performed twice as well as IBM -- beating the S&P 500 by more than 92 percentage points -- is likely an outcome no one could have foreseen. No one, that is, except for the Fool's Ron Gross, who saw three key reasons for investing in the company last year.

Lessons learned?
From where I sit, there are two key lessons to learn from this. First, no one can predict the future with absolute certainty. Second, diversifying is important; sometimes the stock that we think will go sky-high ends up being a dud, and the one we weren't too sure about ends up being our all-star.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Brian Stoffel encourages you to share how you scored below. He owns shares of Apple. You can follow him on Twitter at @TMFStoffel.The Motley Fool owns shares of all 10 of the 11 O'Clock Stock picks listed above. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of FedEx, Apple, Teva Pharmaceutical, and EnerNOC, as well as writing puts on EnerNOC and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. 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.

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