Trustees of the Aurora (Colo.) General Employees' Retirement Board and staff members are surprisingly bullish on the S&P 500, especially considering the index was down 13.3% as of March 10. Board Chair David McConico had the highest, most bullish prediction for 2008 among the 13 predictions in the plan's annual Bull & Bear predictions, pegging expected returns at 10%. To hit that 10%, the index would need to climb almost 27% in the remainder of the year. That's a lot of bull, folks.
Janice Napper, a non-voting board member representing City Manager Ron Miller, had the most accurate prediction in 2007; her 6.3% crystal ball reading was 81 basis points ahead of the S&P 500's 5.49% return. She'll get her name engraved on a plaque of winners dating back to 1988. For 2008, Ms. Napper is again bullish, predicting a 6.9% return.
In fact, there was only one lone bear in the bunch: Aaron Kahn, benefits administrator for the $306.7 million plan, predicted -2% for the index. Mr. Kahn, who describes himself as typically a pretty optimistic person, said the turmoil in the market this year led him to make the rare move. Plus, contest winners often prevail by taking an extreme position, he said.
Mr. Kahn won the friendly contest in 2003 with a prediction of 15% for the S&P 500, missing the actual 28.7% return almost by half. Hardly is it the case that anyone's real close, Mr. Kahn admitted.
Contact Drew Carter at [email protected]