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US Economy to Become a Driver of Global Growth: CIO

Huang Junmin|Assistant Producer, CNBC Asia-Pacific
Friday, 22 Jun 2012 | 5:16 AM ET

A recent spate of dismal data releases may suggest the U.S. recovery is stalling, but an expert remains optimistic about the country's outlook, adding that it is poised to become a global growth driver.

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"We think the baton is being passed from China to the United States right now in terms of where the world is going to get its growth," Bill Smead, CEO and CIO of Smead Capital Management, told CNBC's “Cash Flow.”

Economic indicators out on Thursday renewed concerns about a slowdown in the U.S. Manufacturing grew at its slowest pace in 11 months in June. Meanwhile, the number of initial claims for state unemployment benefits fell only slightly last week.

The Federal Reserve has extended its "Operation Twist" program to sell short-term bonds and buy longer-term ones through the end of the year. The central bank also cut its GDP growth forecast to between 1.9 percent and 2.4 percent, citing risks from Europe's debt crisis.

But Smead pointed to several supportive factors to make his case, such as the beleaguered U.S. housing sector, which he said is starting to turn around.

"I think a year from now, housing will be a lot stronger, and employment associated with housing will show a significant pickup. That is very important because that is a lot of blue-collar employment, (those) are the folks that (were) most penalized by the housing debacle (in 2008)," he added.

Smead also said that U.S. banks "are in the best financial shape they have been for 20 or 30 years," even though Moody's Investor’s Service downgraded credit ratings of five U.S.-based banks on Thursday because of their risk profiles.

Smead said Moody's downgrade was "excessively cautious," calling the ratings agency "the boy who cried wolf for the next 10 to 20 years."

The fall in crude prices to below 80 dollars a barrel from 110 dollars will also support U.S. growth, according to Smead. For every 10 dollar drop in crude prices, GDP growth would rise by half a percent, he said.