Byron Wien's Prediction Track Record: Zero Out Of Ten

Tyler Durden's picture

Instead of wasting time with Byron Wien's Top 10 "predictions for 2011" we have decided to skip this latest and greatest worthless charade in prognostication, and instead we believe that presenting the list of what the man whose retirement age has come and gone, thought would happen in the past year, is a great example of why all these so called institutional Wall Street experts are nothing but two bit hacks. As may be expected, somehow Wien got exactly zero out of ten correct! The man is the contrarian indicator on Wall Street. Also keep in mind: it takes a lot of skill to be this bad.

Byron Wien Announces Top Ten Surprises for 2010

New York, January 4, 2010 Byron
R. Wien, Vice Chairman, Blackstone Advisory Services, today issued his
list of the Ten Surprises for 2010. This is the 25th year Byron has
given his predictions of a number of economic, financial market and
political surprises for the coming year. He started the tradition in
1986 when he was the Chief U.S Investment Strategist at Morgan Stanley.
Byron joined The Blackstone Group in September 2009 as a senior advisor
to both the Firm and its clients in analyzing economic, political,
market and social trends.

The Surprises of 2010

  1. The United States economy grows at a stronger than expected 5% real
    rate during the year and the unemployment level drops below 9%. 
    Exports, inventory building and technology spending lead the way. 
    Standard and Poor’s 500 operating earnings come in above $80
  2. The Federal Reserve decides the economy is strong enough for them
    to move away from zero interest rate policy.  In a series of successive
    hikes beginning in the second quarter the Federal funds rate reaches 2%
    by year-end
  3. Heavy borrowing by the U.S. Treasury and some reluctance by foreign
    central banks to keep buying notes and bonds drives the yield on the
    10-year Treasury above 5.5%.  Banks loan more to corporations and
    individuals and pull away from the carry trade, thereby reducing demand
    for Treasuries.  Obama says, “The suits are finally listening”
  4. In a roller coaster year the Standard and Poor’s 500 rallies to
    1300 in the first half and then runs out of steam and declines to 1000,
    ending where it started at 1115.10.  Even though the economy is strong
    and earnings exceed expectations, rising interest rates and full
    valuations present a problem.  Concern about longer term growth and
    obligations to reduce leverage at both the public and private level
    unsettle investors
  5. Because it is significantly undervalued on a purchasing power
    parity basis, the dollar rallies against the yen and the euro.  It
    exceeds 100 on the yen and the euro drops below $1.30 as the long slide
    of the greenback is interrupted.  Longer term prospects remain
  6. Japan stands out as the best performing major industrialized market
    in the world as its currency weakens and its exports improve. 
    Investors focus on the attractive valuations of dozens of medium sized
    companies in a market selling at one quarter of its 1989 high.  The
    Nikkei 225 rises above 12,000
  7. Believing he must be a leader in climate control initiatives,
    President Obama endorses legislation favorable for nuclear power
    development.  Arguing that going nuclear is essential for the
    environment, will create jobs and reduce costs, Congress passes bills
    providing loans and subsidies for new plants, the first since 1979. 
    Coal accounts for about 50% of electrical power generation, and Obama
    wants to reduce that to 25% by 2020
  8. The improvement in the U.S. economy energizes the Obama
    administration.  The White House undergoes some reorganization and
    regains its momentum.  In the November Congressional election the
    Democrats only lose 20 seats, much less than expected
  9. When it finally passes, financial service legislation, like the
    health care bill, proves to be softer on the industry than originally
    feared.  There is greater consumer protection, more transparency,
    tighter restriction of leverage and increased scrutiny of derivatives,
    but the regulatory changes for investment bankers and hedge funds are
    not onerous.  Trading volume and merger activity increases; financial
    service stocks become exceptional performers in the U.S. market
  10. Civil unrest in Iran reaches a crescendo.  Ayatollah Khameini
    pushes out Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in favor of a more public relations
    adept leader.  Economic improvement becomes the key issue and
    anti-Israel rhetoric subsides.  Talks with the U.S. and Europe begin
    but the country remains a nuclear threat.  Pakistan becomes the hotspot
    in the region because of the weak government there, anti-American
    sentiment, active terrorist groups and concerns about the security of
    the country’s nuclear arsenal

h/t Atierny1 and nolsgrad

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goldmiddelfinger's picture

Figures. What was Doug Kass's copycat score?


NoLongerABagHolder's picture

either he is about to go 10 for 10 this year, or we are setting up for a serious bout of deflation and market crashes based on his 2011 prediction.

swmnguy's picture

That's pretty impressive.  I agree; not worth the time to go point-by-point.  Either some serious disinformation or horse's-assery; kind of a fine line there.

theXman's picture

Looks like complete wishful thinking.

4xaddict's picture

If history repeats itself based on his 2011 dross then PM's are phucked and so are Russia, China, ag commodities, all Afghans that aren't zealots, oil, job seekers in the US yet the S&P will continue higher.

Based on this logic it appears he either decided a scattergun approach was due to at least get something right this year or he asked the work experience kid to cut out various headlines from last years news papers and turn them into a forecast.

TruthInSunshine's picture

I love Zero Hedge.

But articles such as this make me love it more than I thought even I ever could.

Zero Hedge is among the few, select publications that just tell it like it is.

RoRoTrader's picture

and, you're putting out some pretty decent reading also, etf.

nice to see some new talent coming around with something worthwhile to contribute to the conversation.

bring it on mofo.

ThisIsBob's picture

Well, I ask, could that possibly have been written by someone who was drug-free?


Did he come off of any of it during the year or was he unbowed to the bloody end?

snowball777's picture

Perhaps not high on something as much as low on oxygen to the brain.

swmnguy's picture

Oh, Jeez, I went and looked at the 2011 predictions.  Really, don't do it.  It's like Rick-Rolling yourself.

Hephasteus's picture

No the JP Morgue is like rick rolling yourself. The Morgan Stanley is like u-u-u-ma'ing yourself.

Drag Racer's picture

wow... lol

19 really made me laugh. "9/11/11 becomes a peaceful non-event because of excellent intelligence and surveillance." Al-Q did not want their 'junk' messed with...

swmnguy's picture

That one got me too.  That's when I started suspecting I'd been had.

FoieGras's picture

I believe Wien and guys like Kass call these "surprises", not predictions. I believe they're supposed to be thought-provoking ideas that should make the reader think "what if" -- rather than constitute accurate forecasts.

swmnguy's picture

True enough. That's half, or maybe nearly all, the fun in such "surprises" or predictions.

On the other hand, my reaction, which I suspect would be shared by many others who read this site, is not "what if" but "This is a really dopey world-view."


snowball777's picture

No, they are "surprises" in the sense that those making the calls really think that they will happen and that they are particularly clever for having seen what others could not.


ReeferMac's picture

Shit, he said gold will hit $1600/ounce in 2011. Does that mean I should sell mine?

Gene Parmesan's picture

I think it means we should expect it to hit $3k.

Hephasteus's picture

Shit morgan stanley will have so much counterfeit gold they'll be RICH!!!!! Millionaires!!!

poor fella's picture

There's billions to be had - in a 4x pro tungsten ETF.

SteveNYC's picture

Damn, which means Byron gets another 1/2 point because it will have to surpass $1,600 to hit the $3,000 bogey. Go Byron, go!

Gene Parmesan's picture

Are we sure his predictions weren't intended to be sarcastic?

Julia's picture

Go and look in the mirror and get all DeNiro on yourself...You talkin' to me?

1000% sure.

spongeBOB's picture

LOL....this is priceless ! I can't believ this moron opened his mouth again on public TV.

DonnieD's picture

The Crypt Keeper was a little off last year.

Thomas's picture

Here you go you crazy bastards. I am gonna jump this thread and post my own year in review (Thomas is a pseudonym)...

Cursive's picture


I've always enjoyed reading your comments and you've put together a damn fine read (BTW, "can desalinate" is repeated on page 24).  You should submit this to TD as a contributor post.  Whatever the precipitating event/decision was, your move to precious metals in 1999 was prescient and very profitable (I say with a lot of well-meaning envy).  I could ask you a bunch of questions, but will settle for just this one:


I think the Law of Unintended Consequences, another maxim for the ages, will eventually corner us at the national level. The triggering event is unknowable, but my money is on a requisite defense of the dollar (raging, undeniable inflation) or rapidly rising rates on long-term treasuries.


In my way of thinking, defending the dollar means a contraction of the money supply (AMS) and, therefore, massive deflation.  Any thoughts?


Thomas's picture

Stemming inflation? deflation? Who knows? Volcker did not produce deflation despite a serious stomp on the brakes.

Terminus C's picture

Wait... you don't use your real name?

Thomas's picture

Nope, and that's not my picture either. That's Mercury Girl!

Terminus C's picture

I read the article you posted.  Very insightful.

P.S. this isn't my real picure either.

thegr8whorebabylon's picture

Well Thomas, that was certainly the shiznits.

Good read grizz.

mannfm11's picture

Good stuff Thomas.  Been a pleasure knowing you online for 10 years now.  I have to agree on the gas stuff.  I'm hoping for one more deep bear market move and that will be a sector to take a sizable position.  I read the entire 29 pages.  Thanks.  

Greater Fool's picture

Almost unfair that you guys are passing on info this good for free.

the rookie cynic's picture

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” ~ Niels Bohr

wilburpup's picture

I didn't know Casey Stengel was a student of Bohr's.

SteveNYC's picture

Sorry, I think Byron deserves AT LEAST 0.5/10 for this nugget:

"...regulatory changes for investment bankers and hedge funds are not onerous."

DisparityFlux's picture

Is he the Gomer Pyle of Blackstone Advisory Services?

John_Coltrane's picture

No, more like the Chancy Garderner of finance.  You know, "spring is the time for financial planting, summer cultivation, fall the harvest, and winter, you know, discontent"  Get Wien one of those magic balls to help him improve his guessing.

Gimp's picture

Solid bookings on CNBS for old Byron in 2011...

Keep up the good work.


Godisanhftbot's picture

You'd figure someone that homely would at least be smart.


Or stay home.

ThisIsBob's picture

Old Arab saying:  Praise Allah that when He made you ugly He also made you stupid.

anony's picture

I was walking on a beach at 9 a.m. in the Bahamas back about 15 years ago with a rummy hangover from the night before and noticed a mini-bar/shed that served drinks at that hour and a dissheveled guy sitting on a stool waved me over saying that by the way I was walking, he thought I could use a bit of the hair of the dog. He had just the thing to cure me,  which was souped up bloody mary but it did the trick. We got to talking about things we thought would happen in the future and where we were right and wrong.

He said he had worst prediction of all time in his much younger days, he was 20 yrs old at the time. 

His prediction in  '60s?

The Beatles would only last 6 months.  Their hair was too long.

thepigman's picture

Byron Wien and Barton
Biggs have been morons
for years. Hard to
believe they still get
tons of press.

akak's picture

With a bit of tweaking, that could have been a nice little poem.

Red Neck Repugnicant's picture


With a bit of tweaking...


Smoking crystal meth is fantastic for cleaning your garage, but not for writing poetry. 

Julia's picture

I thought he was going for a Haiku and then quickly realized he was just hitting return.