2013 Predictions: Twitter's IPO, Apple's Evolution, Europe's Implosion and Obama's Big Year (Update 1)

Updated from Dec. 17 to include comments from CEO Elisabeth DeMarse.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The divergent fortunes of Twitter and Research In Motion ( RIMM), Apple's ( AAPL) incremental changes and President Barack Obama's biggest year ever top TheStreet's predictions for 2013, made by staff and contributors.

Events next year may not be as easy to foresee as who wins the election (we were right on that one) because the workings of the economy, markets, technology and politics are more complex than they used to be.

10 Technology Predictions for 2013

I've already done a prediction column for technology, so I'm going to play armchair economist this time around (my second-favorite armchair gig behind armchair QB), and stay away from tech, while focusing on the broader economy, and ultimately, the fiscal cliff.

Here's TheStreet's predictions for 2013. Please add your own in the comments field, and we'll compile them for a new story.

Elisabeth DeMarse, TheStreet's Chairman and CEO:

"My private poll of CIOs says next year could be a pretty decent year accelerating in the second half. Housing, autos and higher quality earnings are in the plus column. Exports, not so much. We should have some continued earnings growth, plus continuation of dividends. $1.7 trillion in cash on the balance sheets of the S&P 500 says M+A and capital investment could drive some of the recovery. My one pick is Apple, because I agree with TheStreet's Chris Ciaccia, who thinks AAPL is oversold."

William Inman, TheStreet's Editor-in-Chief:

"Look for more protectionist policies out of Washington -- higher tariffs, import restrictions, limits on overseas job sourcing and manufacturing -- as a Republican-stalemated Congress and the Obama administration find common ground in a tough political and economic environment."

Chris Ciaccia, TheStreet's Technology Reporter:

"I'm pretty certain 2013 will not be a kind year to the equity markets, at least initially. I believe concerns over the fiscal cliff and a pending recession lead us lower. President Obama and Congress are doing their very best to make the American public, businesses and markets frazzled that a deal will get done to avoid going over the cliff."

"Taking some inspiration from Jeff Gundlach, of Doubleline Capital, I believe that Congress does not solve the cliff the way the markets like, essentially doing a can-kick into next year, as the choices become increasingly different to resolve. I believe 2013 is the year we see the implosion of monetary policy, as Ben Bernanke and the rest of the Federal Reserve are unable to save the country from Washington, and the subsequent rounds of quantitative easing have little or no effect on the economy and job market. I do not see Gundlach's "kaboom" moment happening in 2013, though I think it happens before Obama's next term ends."

"Only a meaningful deal between Obama and Congress can restore the country to better fiscal times, and this means a lower market for a good chunk of 2013."

Year-end S&P 500 target: 1,460 (it closed at 1,414 on Dec. 14)

James Rogers, TheStreet Technology Editor:

"The biggest tech story of early 2013 will likely be the arrival of Research In Motion's ( RIMM) eagerly anticipated, yet much-delayed, BlackBerry 10 operating system."

"The embattled Canadian handset maker will unveil the OS, along with two BlackBerry 10 devices, at a worldwide launch event on Jan. 30."

" TheStreet got a sneak peek of BlackBerry 10 running on a prototype of one of RIM's new devices recently and was impressed with the new OS."

"The stakes, though, couldn't be higher for RIM, which has taken a pounding from Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone and Google ( GOOG) Android devices, as well as its own product delays. Set against this backdrop, RIM shares have plunged more than 23% over the past 12 months, but have rallied recently ahead of the BlackBerry 10 launch."

"Some 75% of respondents to TheStreet's ongoing BlackBerry 10 poll say they will buy a BlackBerry 10 device."

"While the new OS looks set to boost RIM, a big question mark still hangs over the company's long-term prospects. A successful BlackBerry 10 launch may quiet some of the M&A chatter that has swirled around RIM in recent months, but investors will be keen to see the phone giant fully capitalize on the new OS. Expect RIM to charge hard in its efforts to license BlackBerry 10 to other manufacturers."

Brian Sozzi, contributor to TheStreet and Chief Equities Analyst at NBG Productions:

"Forearm to throat, Apple shares stand to be higher on Jan. 1, 2014, than they are today, even though its product pipeline is being skewed toward evolutionary rather than revolutionary. In turn, Apple will win from its reputation among consumers, which should create strong global volume, plus a lower cost base."

"However, I want to rock out in 2013 by seeking a company that has guided to a new product or service that could be surprisingly influential on profits, with the Street caring little in the present. One such name is Take-Two Interactive ( TTWO), which trades at five times forward earnings in front of a major launch of a new iteration of its Grand Theft Auto title. Additionally, I have been quite pleased by the strength of the company's catalog business. The company could also see further benefit from a smaller rival, THQI ( THQ), being forced to close up shop due to financial troubles."

Timothy Collins, RealMoney contributor:

"I feel conservative saying 2013 is bound to offer up several more surprises as 2012 did. Sure, we all saw Europe, but the fiscal cliff became a December holiday gift no one wanted and everyone was sick of hearing about by the beginning of December. There looks to be a solid chance that conversation will continue into early 2013, but I don't consider that a very bold prediction."

"The market is born of predictions. It's a game with four quarters, so it's time to break it down."

"Q1: U.S. Treasuries begin a tumultuous year that will see everyone's favorite short, the iShares Barclays 20+ Year U.S. Treasury Fund ( TLT) fall 20% for the year with more than a fair share of the drop occurring in the first quarter. The action in the long-dated Treasuries will become inversely correlated with the unemployment rate. Every 10th of a percent drop in the unemployment rate will hit TLT for at least 1% to 2% in price. A drop below 7% will send TLT bulls running to the sidelines.

"Q2: Although the unemployment rate declines, it is due more to the labor force shrinking. This causes the Fed to adjust its quantitative easing program before the end of quarter two to focus more on the MBS market than Treasuries in hopes of stabilizing the dollar and avoiding holding too much paper, which is losing value (see Q1 prediction). Rumors start to swirl that the Fed will expand its purchase program beyond the Treasury and MBS markets."

"Q3: Energy makes a remarkable move during 2013 highlighted in quarter three, as the dollar continues to struggle. Ironically, it is coal that moves to the forefront, followed closely by natural gas. With the economy stagnating, energy sources plentiful here in the United States take the forefront as an answer for a much needed economic boost. Energy costs start to decline while jobs are created. Optimism grows that energy is a primary solution to turning the tide in the trade deficit."

Q4: Twitter does something Facebook ( FB) could not do: It stages a highly successful IPO, and its shares surge 50% from its offering price. The market places a $20 billion to $25 billion valuation on the company. Not to be outdone, FB breaks above its original IPO price of $38 some 18 months after coming public. It ends the year up 50%, making it one of the biggest winners in the Nasdaq 100, even outperforming Apple.

(Positions: Long TLT straddles, FB call spreads, AAPL put spreads.)

Laurie Kulikowski, TheStreet Small-Business Reporter:

"Now that President Barack Obama has won a second term, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or more commonly known as Obamacare, is a definite."

"One of the most controversial parts to Obamacare, scheduled for implementation in 2014, is the requirement by businesses with at least 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance for their staff or risk being fined. Not only will small businesses have to address whether it makes financial sense to either provide health insurance or pay the fine, but experts have been saying that the unintended consequence from the reform is that many small businesses will look to stay under that 50-employee limit to avoid having to comply. That means some small companies might purposefully stay small, by either switching to more part-time workers or worse, firing employees altogether, to stay below the mandate. Not exactly the answer we're looking for if we want to continue an economic recovery."

"Small-business hiring will not only stall in 2013, but layoffs will mount as companies prepare for Obamacare."

John DeFeo, TheStreet's Director of Business Intelligence:

"I predict that in May 2013, the eurozone debt crisis will come back into the spotlight with journalists asking the inevitable question "Should Greece leave the eurozone?" A Google search will demonstrate that these headlines are virtually interchangeable with headlines from May 2010, May 2011 and May 2012."

Debra Borchardt, TheStreet's Market Analyst:

"The new health-care exchange will be a boon to managed-care companies such as Wellpoint ( WLP) and Aetna ( AET). Both are making acquisitions to boost their Medicaid coverage, and enrollment is expected to go up. UnitedHealth ( UNH) forecast that its Medicaid enrollment might grow as much as 8%. So as consumers are looking over those choices on the exchange, many will probably opt for the low-cost provider."

"It won't be as rosy a picture for medical-device makers. Sales in 2011 for medical devices totaled $300 billion, and that made them a target for revenue in the new health-care legislation. The companies will be hit with a 2.3% tax on gross profits. Ouch. Zimmer Holdings ( ZMH) and Stryker ( SYK) may need a tax replacement to go along with their hip replacements. If they raise prices to recipients, those customers may choose to keep their old joints. Speaking of old joints, I predict the Yankees will not win the World Series, and this will make me sad."

Caitlin Walsh, TheStreet's Web Producer:

"Somehow Congress manages to solve the fiscal cliff close to the 11:59 p.m. deadline, but no one really knows where it came from or, frankly, can understand it. Well into January, after Inauguration Day and the Congressional turnover, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown reveals it was his grassroots solution that he pushed through with both Obama's and Boehner's blessing. Senator Kerry will be tapped for a Cabinet postion. And then Brown can start campaigning for the empty seat. Again."

"Apple TV has yet to be revealed. Again."

Rocco Pendola, TheStreet's Director of Social Media:

" News Corp. ( NWSA) moves to take 100% control of YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports) and makes a bid -- possibly a hostile one -- for Madison Square Garden ( MSG). Make no mistake: Rupert Murdoch knows owning sports across platforms is crucial to building a 21st-century media empire."

"Mark Pincus steps down as CEO at Zynga ( ZNGA) to focus on strategy."

" Netflix ( NFLX), constrained by on- and off-balance sheet obligations, raises cash in 2013 by going to Wall Street for some sort of secondary, selling its DVD division, introducing e-commerce partnerships and/or platforms and/or increasing its $7.99/month streaming subscription rate. The stock tanks on the news. In the long run, however, Netflix benefits -- increased revenue from higher fees offsets impact of churn."

"Mobile payments pioneer Square files to go public in 2013; IPO hits in late 2013/2014 or it gets taken out by a big, somewhat unsuspected, player such as Starbucks ( SBUX)."

Phil van Doorn, TheStreet's Bank Analyst, expects 2013 to be another fruitful year for the nation's largest banks.

"This has been a recovery year, with the KBW Bank Index ( I:BKX) rising 25% through Friday's close, after falling 25% in 2011. Bank of America ( BAC) is up 91%, but the shares still haven't made up what they lost the previous year."

"While the fiscal cliff could cause a brief hiccup and the Federal Reserve's continue stimulus will pressure net interest margins, the next round of bank stress tests by the Fed will spur another major return of capital to investors, with much higher dividend payouts and new share-buyback programs for strongly capitalized Bank of America and Citigroup ( C). JPMorgan Chase ( JPM) and Wells Fargo ( WFC) already feature attractive dividend yields, but will also raise dividends and repurchase significant amounts of shares, driving up earnings estimates."

The "big four" will see continued improvement on the credit front, with Bank of America set to benefit the most from the release of loan-loss reserves. The pressure on margins will be offset by gains on the quick sale of new mortgage loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as the refinancing wave continues. Most of the largest banks will continue to make significant cuts in expenses, which will unfortunately mean thousands of additional layoffs.

The much-maligned Bank of America and Citigroup each still trade for just 0.7 times tangible book value, and have plenty of upside for 2013.

-- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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