Boldest predictions for 2014

Bold, bolder, boldest

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Will Buffett "bag" General Mills? Will we see a Wall Street CEO in handcuffs? Will Chinese stocks finally break through?

Our CNBC anchors, reporters and editors make their boldest predictions yet—from gas dipping below the $3-per-gallon mark to Eric Holder's resignation—to keep you apprised of the highs and lows, the outrageous and the unexpected, that may be in store in the year ahead.

Posted 17 Dec 2013

New sheriff in town

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After five years marked by a variety of controversies, look for Attorney General Eric Holder to step down soon. Holder has had some notable successes in white-collar enforcement, but in that realm he may be best remembered for Senate testimony last March—which he says was taken out of context—that some banks have become too big to prosecute. Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has been mentioned as a possible replacement, but don't bet on it. –-Scott Cohn

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Soccer makes a huge leap forward in the U.S.

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It's no secret that football, as the world knows it, has been growing rapidly in the U.S. But this year it's going to go parabolic. Between the FIFA World Cup in Brazil this coming summer and all the momentum behind watching English Premier League (EPL) soccer, which is televised regularly now in the U.S., a whole new generation of soccer fans will find a reason to get a kick out of the game. Get ready for a lot more English soccer, World Cup and Major League Soccer games to make it into television time usually reserved for U.S. major sports.—Dominic Chu

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High-ticket U.S. real estate will stay hot

As the U.S. becomes a relative bargain compared to white-hot luxury markets like London and Hong Kong, the global rich will continue to pour money into U.S. penthouses and mansions. Expect at least two sales for more than $100 million, either in New York City or the Bay Area. The Chinese will become the new Russians when it comes to the deepest pockets and the biggest trophy properties.—Robert Frank

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The days of 3.5% fixed-rate mortgages are over

Rates are already up well over a full percentage point from a year ago, and as the Federal Reserve begins its much anticipated exit from the bond-buying business, rates will inevitably go higher. How much that affects home sales will depend entirely on job and wage growth. Mortgage underwriting will remain tight, but buyers with solid credit should be able to weather slightly higher rates. By historical standards, they are still relatively low. It is less rate and more availability that will continue to hamper sales.—Diana Olick

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Pinterest to go public

Could this be the year Pinterest goes public? We predict the content-sharing service that allows members to "pin" pieces of media and images to digital bulletin boards will pin itself to the New York Stock Exchange in the fourth quarter of 2014 with a market valuation of $9 billion. It would select the ticker symbol "PN," since "PIN" belongs to PowerShares India Portfolio ETF.—Eli Langer

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Tesla takes off worldwide

If you think Americans are fascinated with the way Tesla CEO Elon Musk has thrown a scare into automakers here in the States, watch what happens around the world in 2014. Tesla sales are poised to take off in Europe, and there will be healthy demand in China once deliveries of the Model S start in that country in the second quarter.

Will Tesla have huge numbers overseas? No. The company is ramping up production at a measured pace. Still, expect Tesla to see decent sales growth in Europe (it's already doing well in the Scandinavian countries) as it expands supply there.—Phil LeBeau

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Short sellers will make a ton of money when the market corrects

Hedge funds that focus on betting against stocks have taken a beating during the post–financial crisis bull market. Many have even gone out of business because of recurring double-digit losses. But if they can hang on and stocks fall sometime next year—especially bubbly technology-related companies—short sellers will make a killing and prove their bullish naysayers wrong.—Lawrence Delevingne

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Gas prices tumble to below $3 a gallon

Gasoline prices will continue to tumble amid increased refinery production and swelling supplies. The national average price for regular gasoline may briefly dip below the $3-a-gallon mark, with a yearly average around $3.25 a gallon. This would mark the cheapest year since 2010, according to Gasbuddy.com. Don't be surprised if prices top the $4-a-gallon mark in some states on the East and West coasts during the seasonal spring surge. But the middle of the country should continue to see prices well below $3 a gallon for most of the year.—Sharon Epperson

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China to the rescue?

The odds are 50-50 that China restarts its growth engine in a meaningful way and boosts the world and regional economy. The new leadership needs to show it is making economic strides as it flexes its military muscle in the region, and that could be motivation to get the economy humming.—Patti Domm

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Berkshire Hathaway will 'bag' General Mills

Berkshire Hathaway may follow up its $12 billion H.J. Heinz deal with an even bigger food acquisition. At a market value of $32 billion, General Mills definitely qualifies as the elusive "elephant" Buffett has been trying to bag the past few years with all the cash Berkshire has accumulated. It's not flashy (Buffett doesn't like flash), and it has very well-known brands (Buffett likes brands), including Cheerios, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Yoplait and Häagen-Dazs (Buffett really likes ice cream).—Alex Crippen

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