Blackstone’s Wien Offers His '10 Surprises' For 2010

Jan 5 2010 | 11:14am ET

The new year of course means another edition of Byron Wien’s 10 surprises, now in its 25th year.

The former Pequot Capital Group strategist, who now works as vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Services, predicts a strong year for the U.S. economy in 2010, with gross domestic product growth topping 5% and unemployment slipping below 9%.

Wien is  also far more bullish on operating earnings than most of his peers, predicting that Standard & Poor’s 500 Index operating earnings will exceed $80 per share. Analysts polled by Thompson Reuters expect less than $60 per share.

“In a roller-coaster year, the S&P500 rallies to 1,300 in the first half and then runs out of steam and declines to 1,000, ending where it started at 1,115.10,” the prognosticator said of this year. “Even though the economy is strong and earnings exceed expectations, rising interest rates and full valuations present a problem.”

Wien also suggests that the dollar’s long-running decline will end in 2010, calling the U.S. currency undervalued. By contrast, both the yen and the euro are expected to lose ground against the greenback.

Blackstone’s sage also believes that interest rate hikes will return this year, beginning in the second quarter. Wien predicts that the federal funds rate will be at 2% by the end of the year.

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