Wall Street’s Byron Wien: Stocks could still test February lows but really rally after November midterms

  • Blackstone's Bryon Wien predicts a strong year-end rally, but warns the stock market could "go back and test the February lows" in the meantime.
  • Wall Street bottomed out for 2018 intraday on Feb. 9, in a sharp sell-off that fell in and out of 10 percent correction territory.

The S&P 500 could finish the year with a strong rally — but in the meantime, the market is not out of the woods yet, Wall Street veteran Byron Wien told CNBC on Tuesday, a day after stocks were clobbered on the latest twist in the U.S.-China trade saga.

Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Private Wealth Solutions, said Monday’s 1.37 percent decline by the S&P 500 did not shake his confidence for a bullish 2018.

“I always thought we'd go back and test the February lows. I don’t know that we’ll get all the way down there,” Wien said on “Squawk Alley.” The last time the S&P 500 closed at a record high was on Jan. 26, which preceded sharp sell-offs in seven out of the next nine trading sessions. Wall Street eventually bottomed out intraday on Feb. 9, briefly falling in and out of 10 percent correction territory.

After the midterm elections in November, Wien said, “The upside of the market is that we can get to 3,000 [on the S&P 500].” Based Monday’s close of 2,717, a move to 3,000 would represent a rise of 10.4 percent and a total increase of more than 12 percent for all of 2018.

Wien, whose career in finance has spanned about 50 years, said his market prediction was in line with what Paul Tudor Jones, the longtime hedge fund manager who called the October 1987 crash, told CNBC earlier this month. “I can see things getting crazy particularly at year-end after the midterm elections ... to the upside," Jones said.

“I think that’s realistic because earnings are coming through very powerfully,” Wien said in Tuesday’s CNBC interview. “Second quarter, I think, is going to show year-over-year earnings improvement of 25 percent. And I think we’re going to be plus-20 [percent] for the remaining two quarters.”

As far as investor concerns surrounding President Donald Trump’s trade actions, Wien said Trump is right to take a tough stance with China. But he said the president should not pull the U.S. out of NAFTA and should not get into a trade war with Europe.

Meanwhile, Wien stood by comments he made on CNBC earlier this month that he doesn’t see another recession until at least 2021. The current recovery, which began in mid-2009, is the second longest expansion in U.S. history, and would become the longest if it lasts past June 2019.