Predictions 2018....

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Tim Liston
Posts: 657
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 3:10 pm

Predictions 2018....

Postby Tim Liston » Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:32 am

(I wrote this last weekend, finally getting around to posting….)

OK here goes. Let’s first see how I did with the stuff I actually did predict for 2017….

The big 2017 news I failed to predict was that men have a sex drive that sometimes overwhelms their (our) common sense. And that women will bring up even 40-year-old sh*t if there’s money in it. And that attorneys are sometimes attention whores. Who knew?

Here’s a link to my 2017 thread (click here)….

1) By EOY 2017, it becomes apparent that Uber is no juggernaut…. I’m giving this one an A-. Uber found itself in a world of hurt in 2017. Its cash burn rate is approached $5 billion in 2017, an increase from previous years. Its CEO resigned amidst a sex scandal, and it found no automakers wanting to partner. Google continued its Waymo (autonomous vehicle) development, Softbank bought further into Uber at a HUGE discount, and Uber failed to go public. The fact is Uber will never go public. It will go broke before it goes public. Drivers grumble non-stop. About the only bad thing that didn’t happen was that Uber’s problems are not yet fully mainstream news.

2) Greater Cleveland finally gets a Menards, hopefully in Avon…. I’m giving this a B. They finally broke ground but at the other site in Cuyahoga Falls (click here). Oh well, too bad for us west-siders. Maybe someday. I’m guessing they went so far east that it left a big slice of opportunity between there and Sandusky for when the time finally comes. And Cuyahoga Falls serves Akron/Canton, a much bigger secondary market than Lorain/Elyria would have been.

3) Locally, First Federal of Lakewood becomes FFL Bank in 2017.… Well that’s an “F” I guess. But it will happen sooner or later. It’s inevitable. Unless it gets bought first.

4) One of the biggest science events of 2017 will be a total solar eclipse… Finally, an “A”! My daughter did drive three hours north into Wyoming to experience its totality. And even though she was right in the middle of nowhere, she said traffic was a mess. In Wyoming. BTW we go fully total right here in NEO in 2024. The afternoon of April 8, 2024 to be exact. And over six years in advance (!) I’m predicting cloudy skies. Though I did save my counterfeit eclipse-watching glasses.

5) The Northwestern Wildcats will win the Big 10 conference football championship…. Well they didn’t, but they had an outstanding season, finished in the Top 25 nationally and won their bowl game despite Coach Fitzgerald’s numerous attempts to give it away. I’ll take a “B” because an outright B10 championship was a real longshot.

6) Though not in my Predictions 2017 thread, I’m on record in several places over the course of the last couple years saying that despite its ongoing lofty numbers, the stock market will not go down. That it will not be allowed to, at least not unless and until Trump starts keeping his anti-establishment campaign promises. Well he didn’t. And it didn’t, not by even a couple percent. In fact the stock market went up over 20% in 2017, primarily because of (1) corporate tax jawboning and eventual passage and (2) continued Fed accommodation. So I’m taking some extra credit.

Now here are my predictions for 2018….

1) Following on my 2017 Uber prediction: Google finally encounters headwinds in 2018. Its ad model starts to falter as voice-based computing and personal assisting (e.g. Alexa) start to encroach on screen-based computing. People will increasingly expect things around them to respond to voice commands, not keystrokes. Your watch will start to become your go-to digital communications device.

Search-related advertising has historically been Google’s only profit center, albeit a very large one, which is why its disruption would be so troubling. It won’t all happen in 2018 but it will start to affect Google’s outlook and hence the stock price. Plus people are starting to ditch Google in favor of less-invasive options. Think DuckDuckGo, which is getting better all the time. Google closed 2017 at 1046 EOY. At worst I see Google’s stock price falling substantially in 2018. At best I see it underperforming for the first time ever. And BTW I’m not betting my money on this outcome. Google is a juggernaut.

2) A store-bought drone will be used in a high-profile terror attack on US soil. I bought a $25 drone at Costco about a month ago and that thing was just so darn cool. So much fun that I bought two more for Christmas gifts. And I learned how well they work and how easy they are to operate. And how easy the higher-end ones would be to arm and deploy. I also recently saw a TED video on “slaughter bots,” which are tiny “suicide” drones that can be armed with explosives or poison and can even be programmed to recognize specific faces in a crowd. Expect to hear more about them in 2018.

3) Intergenerational conflict goes mainstream. Millennials and Gen Y have been dealt a crappy hand by boomers and by the mostly-expired “greatest generation.” Thanks to financial machinations undertaken by boomers FBO boomers, homes have been priced out of reach. So has retirement. In 2018 they’ll start to figure it out and get much more vocal about it. And I don’t blame them.

4) The Antarctic ice sheet will rupture in a very substantial way. As in 10,000 square miles busting completely off and floating into the ocean. Honestly I have no scientific basis on which to make such a prediction but so what? My predictions are free, you get what you pay for. And when it happens it will be big news in the mainstream media.

5) GE will announce the sale of the Nela Park campus. Amazon will buy it for its HQ2. The entirety of East Cleveland will be acquired by way of eminent domain and given to Amazon to house the 5,000 employees who will eventually work there. Bezos will commit $1 billion to renovate the entire city, which will be renamed Amazonia.

OK the Amazon part is absurd. But I can dream, right? My family was able to drive through the Christmas light display privately because my oldest daughter is an engineer with GE. GE is selling the entire lighting division, and someone will appreciate the beautiful, underutilized campus. So I say that a year from now it has a new owner.

6) In 2018 President Trump announces his infrastructure program, commencing with an initiative to strengthen the resilience of our national grid by way of microgrids. Microgrids carry electricity independently within a small area, though they are sometimes connected to a far larger power source. He selects Puerto Rico as an incubator, helping him with the Hispanic vote in 2020.

7) The demise of the Realtor goes completely mainstream. Zillow/Trulia, Redfin and Compass share 80% of the business by year-end. The NAR hung onto its legacy profit model for too long, and now it’s too late. Nobody in their right mind pays 6% to sell their house. 1% online becomes normal. Will the last Realtor out please turn off the lights? As a longer shot, Amazon buys Redfin, which like Zillow is publicly traded, but smaller.

8] Now for the financial markets. We saw QE through 2016, and the jawboning and passage of the corporate tax cuts in 2017. Both have further strengthened stock prices. In 2018 we’ll continue to see the last of the stock-market-propping trilogy: a tanking of the dollar. It won’t be purposeful but the dollar won’t be defended either. The S&P 500 (now 2680) will end 2018 at 2975. I’ve said it many times: the stock market will not be allowed to go down, at least not as long as Trump does not go anti-establishment. And he won’t. But I might become cautious as the mid-terms approach. Dollar weakness also strengthens other assets. Home values continue to climb (measured in dollars). The US Dollar Index (now 92.5) end the year around 80, even against other crappy fiat currencies. About where it was in 2014. But at EOY 2018 dollar-tanking is still only in the early innings. Gold (now $1300/oz.) ends 2018 at $1550 despite that TPTB continue to suppress it by way of “paper gold” manipulation. But “safe haven” long bond yields stay put for now. The short end continues to rise a bit. But I must say, bond prices confuse me. I don’t understand why yields remain so low when governments are borrowing like crazy. Methinks manipulation.

9) Lakewood’s real property reassessments arrive in the mail next summer seeking 25% valuation increases on average. City officials tell us how lucky we are. Lakewood homeowners go batsh*t apoplectic. The Women’s Pavilion is so crowded with homeowner appeals that it looks like Black Friday at Walmart. Some guy named Liston is first in line but is trampled shortly after the doors are opened.

So I have other ideas (Nancy Pelosi forgets who she is, “Cats” win the Big 10) but I’m gonna leave at these. I’ll check back again in a year and we’ll see how I did. In the meantime feel free to add your own predictions for 2018. And Happy New Year!


John Myers
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:53 pm

Re: Predictions 2018....

Postby John Myers » Sun Jan 07, 2018 3:14 pm

Tim Liston wrote:2) Greater Cleveland finally gets a Menards, hopefully in Avon…. I’m giving this a B. They finally broke ground but at the other site in Cuyahoga Falls (click here). Oh well, too bad for us west-siders. Maybe someday. I’m guessing they went so far east that it left a big slice of opportunity between there and Sandusky for when the time finally comes. And Cuyahoga Falls serves Akron/Canton, a much bigger secondary market than Lorain/Elyria would have been.


There's been a Menard's serving a major part of the Akron/Canton area in Massillon for many years, located at the southwest corner of the interchange of routes 21 and 30. It's much more convenient to anyone in the Canton area, and really anyone south and west of downtown Akron, than the Graham Road location will be.


Tim Liston
Posts: 657
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 3:10 pm

Re: Predictions 2018....

Postby Tim Liston » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:12 pm

I couldn't help but weigh in early on one of my predictions. #6 in particular, regarding microgrids in Puerto Rico. This appeared yesterday in The Daily Bell as the lede....

How Puerto Rico Could Turn Disaster into a Decentralized Paradise (click here)

"Puerto Rican solar companies also see the potential for decentralized systems. A cluster of houses or communities could all link up, and instead of having to store all the electricity generated, one building’s solar panels could supplement another’s when their needs exceed their capacity and vice versa.

Of course my prediction said that government would lead this initiative. Silly me. But if I had more energy I'd move some money to a bank in Puerto Rico, fly down there, and buy a couple properties. One near a city and one in the middle of nowhere. I'm sure there are others doing something like that right now.


Tim Liston
Posts: 657
Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2005 3:10 pm

Re: Predictions 2018....

Postby Tim Liston » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:54 am

Regarding prediction 7) above: “The demise of the Realtor® goes completely mainstream. Zillow/Trulia, Redfin and Compass share 80% of the business by year-end. The NAR hung onto its legacy profit model for too long, and now it’s too late. Nobody in their right mind pays 6% to sell their house. 1% online becomes normal. Will the last Realtor out please turn off the lights? As a longer shot, Amazon buys Redfin, which like Zillow is publicly traded, but smaller.”

That prediction was a gimme. Almost like last year’s prediction of a total solar eclipse. To wit, this just came out late last week….

Now Zillow won’t just show you a home — it will sell it to you (click here)

I don’t know all the details, but apparently Zillow is rolling out an “Instant Offers” initiative in Phoenix and Las Vegas whereby they will purchase your home, then ready it and sell it. Flip it. And their offers have to be reasonably credible because Zillow has lots of competition – including Zillow itself, which will also let you list the home for just 1% and do the sales work yourself. Take your pick.

Like I said, the Realtor® is on life support. I’m stunned that there are still Realtor® signs in front of homes whose owners will pay 6%. A Realtor® has only two jobs. One, to get you to spend a lot of money fixing the place up. The other is to get you to lower your price. That’s it. The Internet has almost completely disintermediated the process of buying/selling stuff, including big ticket stuff. The Internet is life’s MLS. I can’t even remember the last store I walked into that didn’t say Costco, Menards or Dollar Tree on the front. I think it was when we ran out of Halloween candy and I had to make a quick trip to CVS.

Next in line, headhunters. Last week I posted two job openings on indeed.com. Eye-opening. I wonder how headhunters find new jobs. Think about that for a second….


ryan costa
Posts: 1947
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 10:31 pm

Re: Predictions 2018....

Postby ryan costa » Tue May 22, 2018 2:36 pm

I voted for Obama because I thought invading Iraq was stupid, and the subsequent results predictable.
Then Obama got us into Libya and semi-into Syria.
For the sake of Consistency, Trump will probably talk himself into invading Iran or maybe even some subsaharan african nation.


"assume we have a can opener" - Ravi Batra

"Good luck with what you're doin'".--Ramses Luther Smuckles.

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