U.S. economic growth as measured by real GDP will top 5 percent in 2010, and the unemployment rate will fall below 9 percent, said Byron Wien, vice president of Blackstone Advisory Services, who shared his annual top 10 surprises with CNBC Tuesday:
1. U.S. Grows at a stronger-than-expected 5 percent; unemployment drops below 9 percent.
2. Fed begins hiking rates, reaching 2 percent by year-end.
3. 10-year Treasury yield moves above 5.5 percent.
4. S&P 500 Rallies to 1,300 before losing steam.
“I think the economy will be ahead of the market," said Wien. "The market already discounts the favorable economy, so this is going to be a pretty flat year for the S&P 500.”
5. Dollar rallies against the yen and the euro.
“The dollar is cheap on a parity basis, so I think it could have longer legs than many people think," he said. "Interest rates are going to rise, both short and longer term, and I think the economy is going to be strong—and that’s positive for the dollar.”
6. Japan is the best-performing major industrialized market.
“Almost nobody is positive on Japan—my view is that the yen will weaken, exports will improve, sales to China will be strong," said Wien. "[But] nobody owns it. So if the fundamentals just stop getting worse and get a little bit better, there could be a lot of buyers.”
7. President Obama endorses legislation favorable to nuclear power.
8. Rebounding economy energizes the Obama administration.
“If the economy is as strong as I think it will be, then there’s a possibility that the administration could regain its momentum," he said. "I see them only losing 20 seats in November.”
9. Financial regulation proves to be softer than originally feared.
10. Civil unrest in Iran reaches a crescendo; Pakistan remains a regional hotspot.
“The major problem in Iran is an economic problem," he said. "So I expect the country will focus on the economy and that [Iran's current President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad will be moved out of the position, and a more moderate leader will come in. The country will still be a nuclear threat, but the economy will be the focal point.”
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No immediate information was available for Wien or his firm.