From the Desk of Bob Centrella, CFA:                           January 13, 2021                                    

 Dear Friends:

The year is off to an interesting start as the market is making some new highs, we are about to install a new President and yes, impeaching the other one again.  Football season is over for me as my Steelers laid a gigantic egg in choking, er, losing to the Browns on Sunday in an embarrassing game for them.  Also, congrats to the Crimson Tide of Alabama for yet another NCAA football championship. Kinda getting tired of seeing the same 4 or 5 teams every year in the playoffs.  But I'll give them credit for consistency.  

Yes, the results of the 9th annual Forza Investment Survey are official and we have a winner in what was a really close contest.  So close that I am going to award a bottle to the top 3 finishers.  Congratulations again (ugh) go to my brother Roy for edging out Sam DellaFera by 1 point!.  Since it was so close and my methodology, although sound, is not bullet-proof, you both can expect a bottle from Forza.  Well done.  I'm also awarding a bottle to the 3rd place finisher who was only 3 points back -- oh wait, that's me 😂.  I seem to never be able to get over the hurdle to win but speaking about consistency for the college football teams, I will take a bottle from myself for consistent finishes over the years.  And I believe Roy becomes the first 3-time winner.  Luckily, I will be drinking his wine with him when he visits!  I still owe last year's winner a bottle and he came in 4th this year.  (John L, I'll get it to you for sure at the golf course.)  Btw, the top 4 finishers were Italian!!  Just saying...

Congratulations and thanks to all for participating.  The new 2021 survey will be out shortly.

Given the craziness in the year, we can now look back and see how we all forecasted. Once again, the conclusion in looking at our results is that this is not easy stuff, even for those of us that do this for a living!  You can look at the results to see where you finished in the attachment but a few highlights are: 

1.  Who would have "thunk" that this would be a record year for stocks when we were sitting down -35% in March?  But here we are.  Our median prediction was to finish at 30,417 for the Dow and we were pretty close but 200 points short.  For the S&P 500 the median was 3,498 vs 3,756 -- not too close.  Congrats to my daughter Anna who forecasted 3,748.  It must be in the bloodlines!   
2.  In terms of a stock correction, 14 of the 21 respondents were looking for a correction of at least 10% and it certainly did happen. 
3.  Oil declined sharply due to Covid and finished the year down 20% although it too was much worse at the bottom.  Sam D was closest at $50/barrel but our median price was forecasted at $63.44. 
4.  Gold rose almost 25% to $1893.  This was on top of a 18% rise last year. Gold was a safe haven for investors.
5.  The 10-year UST declined as low as about .25% during the year but rose as the market rebounded and finished the year at .96%, down from 1.92% at the beginning of the year.  Nobody was very close as my prediction of 1.70% was closest.  Our average forecast was 2%.  
6.  Unemployment skyrocketed in 2020 after starting the year at 3.5%.  It finished the year at 6.7%, much better than the peak at 14.7% in April.  GDP growth is likely to finish the year at around -3.5% after a 31% decline in Q2 and a 33% increase in Q3.  Talk about a rollercoaster year.  Needless to say, nobody was very close to those statistics.     
7.  Bitcoin, ridiculously rose from $7,194 to $29,290.  Nobody was close there either as my guess of $13K was closest.  Our average for the group was around $8K.  And it hit $40K earlier this week before pulling back somewhat.  I'm looking forward to see what the forecast is on our next survey.  
8.  Finally, only 2 out of 21 thought that a Democrat would win the presidency!  I think I mentioned last year that the contrary indicator would suggest a Democrat would win.  And for the Bonus question, 15 out of 21 thought Biden would be the Dem nominee.    

The results are attached to this email. The first page gives all our answers and the second page lists the final rankings. Take a look and see how you did.  Then consider what to forecast in 2021.  I'll get that out in a few days.  

Have a great 2021!  Has to be better than 2020.    
If you have any questions or want to talk feel free to send an email.

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Bob Centrella, CFA
Managing Partner
Forza Investment Advisory, LLC






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