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Local investment panel never saw the big rally coming

The party on Wall Street really got going last year.

But none of the local investment advisers on The Buffalo News’ annual panel of forecasters saw it coming.

In fact, they thought 2019 was going to be a pretty blah year for stocks, with gains of about 3% for both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index.

They were spooked by last year's steep December sell-off and fears of a trade war. They worried that it would slow the economy, hurt profits and lead to less consumer spending.

Their fears proved to be unfounded.

The Dow and the Nasdaq both had big years, with the Dow jumping by 22% and the Nasdaq soaring by 35%.

None of the advisers came close. The two who came the closest – Ogorek Wealth Management's Anthony J. Ogorek and Main Line Capital Management's Kevin McKenna – were about four times too low with their predictions of a 6% gain in the Dow and an 8% rise in the Nasdaq.

Could the stock market's long rally fizzle in 2020? Local advisers are wary

But our panel had a banner year with their stock picks. Each of the portfolios of five stocks that were selected by the advisers went up by a minimum of 17% last year, and the picks by McKenna and Sandhill Investment Management's  Tim Johnston each jumped by more than 50%.

McKenna's portfolio hit the jackpot with his pick of titanium dioxide producer Tronox, which more than doubled in value, while his pick of Apple Inc. jumped by 86%. Johnston's picks were incredibly consistent, with each rising by more than 40%, led by a 77% surge by electronic payments processor Global Payments. His picks of credit bureau firm Trans Union and medical research firm Bio-Techne each rose by more than 50%.

Here’s how all of last year’s forecasts panned out.

Patrick Bohen

Dopkins Wealth Management

2019 forecast: Dow: up 4.3%; Nasdaq: up 6.1%.

Anthony J. Ogorek

Ogorek Wealth Management

Dow: up 6%; Nasdaq: up 8%.

Steven Gattuso

Courier Capital Corp.

Dow: up 5%; Nasdaq: up 6%.

Gerald T. Cole

Arbor Capital Management

Dow: up 5%; Nasdaq: up 6%.

Kevin E. McKenna

Main Line Capital Management

Dow: up 6%; Nasdaq: up 7%.

Tim Johnston

Sandhill Investment Management

Dow: unchanged; Nasdaq: down 6%.

David Hartzell

Cornell Capital Management

Dow: down 3%; Nasdaq: down 5%.

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