Byron Wien calls for ‘surprise’ market rally

Byron Wien: Stocks are set to rally 10%
Byron Wien: Stocks are set to rally 10%   

Stocks have risen less than 2 percent since the start of the year, but Byron Wien is holding out hope.

The well-known vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners, Wien predicted in the beginning of the year that the "the market rises for strong performance in 2015," fueled by "a growing economy" and "favorable earnings."

And even though the earnings picture has deteriorated, Wien is sticking by his bullish call.

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"I'm still out there, bullish for the rest of the year," he said Thursday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "Earnings may be somewhat disappointing because of the strong dollar and oil, but I think there are going to be a number of companies that are going to produce good year-to-year earnings. And I think there are opportunities to make money in the market."

Still, Wien grants that earnings have sapped some of the bullish enthusiasm.

"At the beginning of the year, most people were looking at $125 earnings for the S&P 500. They're looking at $120 or lower now. So it means that the S&P is going to have a flat earnings performance for 2015, and that's not the stuff that bull markets are made of," he said.

"My view is that the people who are cautious make sense," he added. "But I think that too many people are moving to that side of the boat, and I think the market may surprise you favorably."

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Byron Wien
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Byron Wien

Still, investors may have become a bit more bullish of late. According to the most recent survey from the American Association of Individual Investors, short-term investor optimism has climbed to a year-to-date high, with 47 percent of investors now believing that stock prices will rise over the next six months, a bit above the historical average of 39 percent.

Either way, Wien now predicts that stocks will log a 10 percent gain over the course of the year, reducing expectations from the 15 percent he previously called for.

"I don't think this is going to be a big year, but the market is not expensive," he said. "I think the market can make 10 percent progress from the beginning of the year … with a little multiple expansion on flat earnings."

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