Once again, MSNBC.com readers fell short in predicting the stock market's surprisingly strong run-up in 2006.
In our unscientific survey published a year ago, only 16 percent of readers the Dow would gain 9 percent or more for the year. With just two trading days left in the year, the Dow was up more than 16 percent for the year, its best performance since 2003.
Readers did a bit better in forecasting Federal Reserve policy, with more than 50 percent correctly predicting the overnight federal funds rate would end the year in a range of 4.75 to 5.5 percent. In fact the rate will end the year at 5.25 percent, compared with 4.25 percent a year ago.
But readers were overly pessimistic about long-term interest rates -- as many professionaly forecasters were. Nearly two-thirds of readers predicted the benchmark 30-year interest rate would end the year at 6.5 percent or above. In fact the 30-year rate is at about 6.13 percent currently, compared with 6.26 percent a year ago, according to Freddie Mac.