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Advisers' picks for 2011 were way off mark

The year 2011 was a year our panel of stock pickers would rather forget.

All of our local financial advisers were too optimistic about the stock market in 2011, with their forecasts calling for a better than 9 percent gain by the Dow Jones industrial average and a nearly 12 percent jump by the Nasdaq.

Until last week, their forecasts weren't even close. But thanks to last week's stock market rally by the Blue Chip stocks in the Dow, our panel's forecasts are looking a little better, now that the Dow is up 6 percent in 2011, heading in to the final week of trading. But they still were way off on the Nasdaq, which instead of having the big gain our advisers predicted, is down 1 percent with a week to go in the year. Not one member of our local panel called for a gain of less than 7 percent in either index.

Barring a huge final week swing in the market, Joseph Curatolo, the president of Georgetown Capital Group, and Brian G. Cannon, the managing director at Dopkins Wealth Management, took the honors with the closest Dow forecast, with their predictions of a 7 percent gain. Cannon was closest to the target with his Nasdaq forecast of a 7 percent gain.

It was a forgettable year for our panel's stock picks, too, with our panel's portfolios of five stocks dropping by an average of more than 13 percent.

In such a difficult market, the stock picks by Gerald T. Cole, the managing director at Arbor Capital Management in Amherst, stood out. Cole's picks rose by an average of 3 percent -- the only portfolio among our nine-member panel that has gone up heading into the final week of trading. Within Cole's portfolio, double-digit gains by Boeing Co., chip maker Intel and energy producer Marathon Oil offset a plunge by aluminum company Alcoa.

Here's what the market closed at on Friday, and what each of the analysts predicted: Dow: 12,294; Nasdaq: 2,619.

Anthony Ogorek -- Dow: 12,503; Nasdaq: 2,865.

Bruce Kaz -- Dow: 13,184; Nasdaq: 3,113.

Gerald T. Cole -- Dow: 12,500; Nasdaq: 3,000.

Joseph Curatolo -- Dow: 12,400; Nasdaq: 3,000.

Tim Johnston -- Dow: 12,735; Nasdaq: 2,998.

Stephen Robshaw -- Dow: 12,600; Nasdaq: 3,000.

Lawrence V. Whistler -- Dow: 12,735; Nasdaq: 2,971.

David Hartzell -- Dow: 13,125; Nasdaq: 3,125.

Brian G. Cannon -- Dow: 12,400; Nasdaq: 2,850.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com