Byron Wien's Surprises of 2012
Byron defines a "Surprise" as an event which the average investor would only assign a one out of three chance of taking place but which Byron believes is "probable," having a better than 50% likelihood of happening:
The Surprises of 2012 (first four):
1. The extraction of oil and gas from shale and rock begins to be a game changer. The price of oil drifts back to $85 a barrel and the United States becomes less dependent on Middle East supply. Deposits in Poland, Ukraine and elsewhere prove promising as well. Increased production from Libya and Iraq and reduced demand resulting from the slowdown in world-wide economic activity contribute to the price decline.
2. Earnings for American corporations continue to move higher driving the Standard & Poor's 500 above 1400. Raw material prices continue soft and business leaders successfully adjust to slower economic growth by using technology to reduce the labor and logistical component of goods and services sold; profit margins stay high.
3. The U.S. economy gets its second wind. Real growth exceeds 3% and the unemployment rate drops below 8%. Recession fears and even "the new normal" view of prolonged slow growth are called into question. Capital spending, exports and the consumer drive the economy, overcoming fiscal drag. The drop in the price of oil and the rise in the stock market improve both consumer confidence and spending patterns.
4. The recovering economy and the declining unemployment rate help President Obama convince the voters that he didn't do such a bad job in his first term after all. He is viewed as a good speaker but a poor leader who is running against Mitt Romney, viewed as uninspired and whose positions on many issues are unclear. Democrats take back the House of Representatives but lose the Senate in an anti-incumbent wave.
HT: Tom Keyes