Market Insider

Predictions 2010: Markets & Economy

This year's forecast is a wish list. OK, I know that's cheating.

A New York Stock Exchange trader.
Oliver Quillia for

Everyone else is throwing darts at the future, but can you honestly think of even a half dozen prognosticators that have been totally right in the last two years? Maybe the gloom and doom crowd were scoring big early on, but many of them missed the stock market rally.

So here goes 2010:

1. Economy.

Economists say unemployment should peak in the first part of the year, somewhere just shy of 11 percent. What I hope is that the hiring is not just from short-lived stimulus spending, and that companies actually see the benefit of adding to their payrolls as soon as Q1.

2. Trouble ahead.

We all know there are more catalysts for crisis out there, whether its commercial real estate or some country debt. I hope the Fed has it right, and it is keeping rates low to heal the system, not just firing up another recipe for future disasters.

3. Double Dip.

It's possible there could be a double dip recession, sooner or later, so let's hope that's wrong. The frailty of the recovery depends so much on confidence. Businesses have to realize there may be opportunities now if they open their check books. They can go along way to help consumers come out of their shells.

4. Swamped in debt.

So far, the markets have digested huge amounts of new Treasury issuance that the U.S. government needs to pay its debt. At some point, the cost to borrow is going to rise, and it makes sense it happens in the next year. Let's hope this shift and the unwinding of Fed policy does not result in calamity.

5. Green shoots.

The stock market and credit markets have been real green shoots in this recovery. But can that continue? As far as stocks go, many analysts think 2010 is an up and down year, ending not far away from the highs of 2009. We can hope that's not the best case scenario, but it just may be.

Grading 2009 Predictions

1. I said markets would be volatile. Check one for me. OK, so it was a no brainier.

2. I also said stocks would only be slightly higher and the dollar would be higher too. Wrong.

3. But I get a check for being right on the economy turning out of recession in the third quarter.

4. Also a check for saying that everyone would be tired of the government owning companies. Ok, that was easy too, and I'll venture to predict that we'll be sick of it next year too.