Our panel of local advisers heard the bulls last year. They just didn't think the rush would be quite so strong.
It was a year when even the most optimistic members of our local panel were too pessimistic, with their forecasts calling for 9 percent gains by both the Dow and the Nasdaq.
But while our advisers were predicting a pretty average year for the stock market, 2010 turned out to be quite a bit stronger than that, with the Dow rising by 14 percent and the Nasdaq jumping by 18 percent entering the final week of the year.
Ogorek Wealth Management's Anthony J. Ogorek had the crystal ball with the clearest picture heading into 2010, coming just a single point high with his Dow forecast, while his Nasdaq prediction of a 15 percent rise was second-best to Courier Capital Corp.'s Bruce Kaz forecast for a 16 percent increase.
Sandhill Investment Management's Tim Johnston's stock picks panned out far better than any of the rest. Johnston's five stock picks generated a total return that rose by an average of 32 percent, easily outpacing the broader market, thanks to better than 55 percent returns by specialty metals manufacturer Carpenter Technology and software and services firm Autodesk Inc.
Kaz's picks also fared well, returning an average of nearly 22 percent, led by the better than 50 percent return in Apple Inc. and a 33 percent jump by mining firm Rio Tinto PLC.
Here's what the market closed at Thursday, and what each of the analysts predicted:
*Dow: 11,573; Nasdaq: 2,666.
*Anthony Ogorek -- Dow: 11,594; Nasdaq: 2,571.
*Bruce Kaz -- Dow: 11,803; Nasdaq: 2,594.
*Gerald T. Cole -- Dow: 11,000; Nasdaq: 2,400.
*Joseph Curatolo -- Dow: 11,600; Nasdaq: 2,375.
*Tim Johnston -- Dow: 11,200; Nasdaq: 2,390.
*Ronald M. Roche -- Dow: 11,000; Nasdaq: 2,393.
*Lawrence V. Whistler -- Dow: 11,150; Nasdaq: 2,346.
*David Hartzell -- Dow: 11,384; Nasdaq: 2,526.
*Rosemary A. Ligotti -- Dow: 10,845; Nasdaq: 2,313.