On January 1, I made some predictions about different events in 2011. I thought it would be interesting to track how some of these predictions are currently trending to measure both my and my readers’ accuracy. I have only commented on those events for which there has been recent news.
Finance and Economics
1. I suggested that the S&P500 would end the year up 15% at 1,446 and the plurality of my readers (~45%) agreed with my assessment. As of yesterday, the S&P500 was up 1.8% year-to-date and stood at 1,280. If the S&P500 were to grow at the same compounded rate of growth for the remaining 345 days of 2011, it would end the year up by over 38%. It is unlikely this will be the case. However, it does seem that 15% growth for the S&P500 is still well within reach.
2. I also predicted that unemployment would experience a “modest” decline ending the year at just under 8%. Again, the plurality of my readers agreed with 50% of them voting that unemployment would be 8-8.9% by the end of 2011. It looks like unemployment will be more likely to end at the top end rather than the lower end of this range. The last official numbers pointed to 9.4% in December, so my “modest” prediction actually seems rather aggressive.
3. I also predicted that oil would end the year at $110 per barrel, but only 22% of my readers agreed. So far, the West Texas Intermediate spot price actually declined from $91.38 per barrel on December 31, 2010 to $90.85 per barrel on January 19, 2011. However, it is still probably too early to tell where it will end up by the end of this year.
5. I suggested that President Obama would appoint Hillary Clinton as the 23rd Secretary of Defense. Nearly 89% of my readers disagreed and recent news suggests that they may have had better foresight than I. In a recent interview, Clinton indicated that she would likely leave her position as Secretary of State in 2012 and was “looking forward to retuning to private life.”
8. Earlier this month, I predicted that Hezbollah militants would clash with Israel forces on the Lebanese border some time this year. Nearly 56% of my readers agreed. This past Tuesday, Hezbollah operatives gathered in groups of up to 30 at a dozen strategic points in the Lebanese capital in “coup drills” to protest a tribunal’s investigation into the bombing that killed Rafik Hariri. Presumably, the terrorist group wants to close the investigation, because it is responsible for Hariri’s death. Should the Lebanese government collapse over this mess, I think it will not be long before the Israelis get involved in the affairs of their northern neighbor.
9. So far, all early tallies indicate that southern Sudanese voters have overwhelmingly chosen to secede from northern Sudan with 98.6% voting for the split. I predicted that the South would vote for succession and every reader who participated in my poll agreed. To be fair, this prediction was the easiest one. After all, who wants to be part of an Islamic regime guilty of ethnic cleansing in Darfur?