Each year, Pequot Capital Chief Investment Strategist Byron Wien attempts the impossible: Predicting the year's top surprises.
His predictions for 2008 turned out to be good, as the economy went bad: Among other things, he called for a 10 percent drop in the S&P 500, a plunge in oil prices, victory for Barack Obama, and a cutting of rates by the ECB.
"It was a better-than-average year," he told CNBC. "A typical year might be, I'd get five or six right; I got pretty close to seven, if you grade them on individual components."
So here's his list of surprises for 2009, with a comment on each one:
1. S&P Rises to 1,200 in anticipation of a second-half recovery.
"We've made the lows for the cycle; we won't go up in a straight line, we'll have a saw-tooth pattern, but I think we'll get to 1,200 before the year is out."
2. Gold Rises to $1,200 per ounce.
"People are disenchanted with paper currencies, and eventually they'll get disenchanted with the dollar."
3. Crude oil returns to $80 per barrel.
"China and India will maintain growth...and I think , as a result of that, the continued increase in demand for petroleum products will be there."
4. Dollar Goes Into Serious Downward Slide.
"I just don't see how the dollar can hold up, with these deficits, and with the money supply expanding so rapidly."
5. 10-Year Treasury Yield Rises to 4 percent.
"I think it's aberrationally low, because of the fund flows into the United States."
6. Chinese growth exceeds 7 percent.
"It's been a terrible 2008 for all emerging markets, but I think that creates the opportunity...for growth to continue in India and China."
7. State governments will threaten bankruptcy.
"New York State is very dependent on the financial-services industry, and (it) is in tough shape...California is a big risk also."
8. Housing market will bottom early.
"It may take several years to work off the inventory, but you will see a revival of the housing industry."
9. U.S. Savings Rate will fail to improve.
"You'll see much better spending patterns for next Christmas."
10. President Obama will slow troop withdrawals.
"An American military presence in the Middle East is a necessary condition of our foreign policy."
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