Friday Afternoon Humor: Blast From The (Ancient) Past

Tyler Durden's picture

For today's humorous detour, we go back in time, some could say to prehistoric days, and pull the 2011 year end predictions by Blackstone's grizzled (date of birth Valentine's Day, 1933) Vice Chairman Byron Wien posited back on January 1, who for 26 years in a row tries to predict the future. And fails. Well, technically he did get gold right. And yes, there are two more weeks left in 2011: Wien may still be proven right... crazier things have happened.

Byron Wiens' Surprises of 2011

1. The continuation of the Bush tax cuts coupled with the extension of unemployment benefits has put all working Americans in a better mood. Real Gross Domestic Product rises close to 5% in 2011 driven by improved trade and capital spending in addition to stronger retail sales. Unemployment drops below 9%.

2. The prospect of increasing Federal budget deficits and rising government debt finally begins to weigh on the bond market. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury approaches 5% as foreign investors become more demanding. Spreads with corporate fixed income securities narrow.

3. Encouraged by renewed economic momentum the Standard & Poor’s 500 rises close to its old high of 1500. A broad range of sectors participate, but telecommunications and utilities lag. With earnings improving, valuations seem low and individual investors return to equities for the first time since the financial crisis. Merger and acquisition activity becomes intense and the market reaches a blow-off euphoria. Stocks correct in the second half as interest rates rise.

4. Although inflation remains benign, the price of gold rises above $1600 as investors across the world place more of their assets in something they consider “real.” Sovereign wealth funds of countries with significant dollar reserves also become big buyers. Hedge funds keep thinking the price rise is becoming parabolic and sell their positions and some even short the metal but gold keeps climbing and they scramble back in.

5. Worried about inflation and excessive growth, the Chinese decide to use their currency as a policy tool. They manage the value of the renminbi aggressively to keep the growth of the economy below 10% and to prevent consumer prices from increasing above the 4%–5% range. The move is viewed as a precursor to the world-wide adoption of a basket including the renminbi as an alternative to the use of the dollar as the principal reserve currency.

6. Rising standards of living in the developing world seriously increase the demand for agricultural commodities. The price of corn rises to $8.00, wheat to $10.00 and soybeans to $16.00. Commodities become a component of more institutional portfolios.

7. The housing situation improves. Although the inventory of unsold homes remains high, the oversupply is drawn down substantially, contrasting with an increase in 2010. The Case-Shiller gradually heads higher and housing starts exceed 600,000.

8. Continuing demand from the developing world and a failure to bring onstream new supply causes the price of oil to rise to $115 per barrel. The higher price at the pump fails to discourage driving, increase sales of hybrid vehicles or cause Congress to initiate conservation measures.

9. Frustrated by the lack of progress against the Taliban and the corruption of the Karzai government, President Obama concludes that whenever American troops return home, Afghanistan will once again become a tribal state ruled by warlords. He accelerates the withdrawal of most military personnel to the end of 2011. Coupled with the pullout of forces in Iraq, this will leave the Middle East without a major Western presence in the face of rising fears of terrorism.
10. Under duress Angela Merkel leads the way in European financial reform. The weaker countries, having pledged to cut their budget deficits in half by 2014, are provided additional transitional aid by the European Union (with Germany’s backing) and the International Monetary Fund as long as they implement their austerity programs, increase some taxes and still show modest growth. The European financial crisis becomes less of a concern. The policies put in place prove psychologically satisfying to the financial markets but harmful in the longer term because they are palliative and do not represent solutions.

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slewie the pi-rat's picture

angela merkel undressing for financial reform?

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

She takes her pants off for no one.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

after what happened with the greeks and the troika, who could blame her?

nope-1004's picture

This is only Friday humor if you didn't listen to it back in the day.

Otherwise, nothing humorous about the losses incurred by listening to this tard.


LongBallsShortBrains's picture



You must mean contrarian genius!!!!!

When is his view on 2012 out????

jeff montanye's picture

under duress.  not under her dress.  (shiver)

merizobeach's picture

Wow, seems Mr Byron Wien has some serious trouble dissociating fantasy from probability.  I suspect his condition is exascerbated by an insufficient number of bullets in his head.  Could someone assist the old man with that?

MobBarley's picture

Our favorite Church Of Satan website shows up to infect the computers of ZeroHedgers with


How God Like.


Careless Whisper's picture

The Careless Whisper Afternoon Trivia Question


Who currently owns the pistols used in the Alexander Hamilton - Aaron Burr duel?


(hint: Both Hamilton and Burr were founders of competing banks, and both banks are the only two banks that offer tri-party repos.)


Trivia Answer will be posted below in a few minutes.

Careless Whisper's picture

and what type of bank would take pride in owning and displaying such a murder weapon?

jcaz's picture

Hey Blackstone- give Wein a year-end bonus......

Pretty impressive to be wrong on so many counts- a chimp would have gotten at least five correct.......

Sardonicus's picture

he completely missed the advent and popping of the new .com bubble all in one year.

NotApplicable's picture

To be fair though, it's kind of hard to predict market behavior when there isn't one.

Oh, and thanks for the imagery of Byron's grizzled Wien, Tyler.  Thanks a lot.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

Now you know how worthless Byron's predictions are, and how equally worthless his views on anything current must be as well. Love the housing comment - spoken like someone who does not have a clue, but believes reality responds to "the power of positive thinking," or similar horseshit.

NEOSERF's picture

Amazing that this guy makes six figures a year for this kind of wrongness...seriously ZH should start an analyst/firm scoreboard which tracks the buy/sell accuracy of these clowns...the world would be a better place if people could see an accuracy %...even weathermen are now more accurate through the end of the week...analysts are up there with hurricane forecasters... 

ReactionToClosedMinds's picture

over the years ByronW has done ok ..... guess you & everyone else here is perfect.

I encourage  some of the hot shots here to go head-to-head over the years with Wien instead of engaging in cheapblogshots .....


d_senti's picture

Pay me 500k a year to do it and I'm totally down for it.

merizobeach's picture

A .100 batting average is not good enough to stay on the team in any league.  Maybe Mr Wein wasn't a complete asswipe earlier in his life, but that time has clearly passed.

oogs66's picture

6 figures? I would bet 7

BlackSea's picture

Give the man a bonus

Careless Whisper's picture

Trivia Answer


The Hamilton - Burr pistols that were used in the duel are currenly owned by JP Morgan Chase. Hamilton founded Bank of NY (now BankofNYMellon). Burr founded Manhattan Bank (now a part of JP Morgan Chase). Manhattan Bank purchased the pistols in 1930 and now JP Morgan Chase prominently displays the murder weapon in its museum.

Only two banks currently offer tri-party repos on behalf of the Federal Reserve Bank (of NY). They are BankofNYMellon and JP Morgan Chase.


Burr's 2nd Shot's picture

I resent the use of the term "murder weapon".  I think that you could argue that the winner of a duel acted in self-defense.  In this case, Hamilton rigged his gun  by giving it the equivalent of a hair-trigger, and missed with his shot.  In any event, Burr was not convicted of murder.

If I am not mistaken, Hamilton was the first American central banker.

Nobody For President's picture

"If I am not mistaken, Hamilton was the first American central banker."


There we have it!

Bring back dueling.


jeff montanye's picture

he was the first (to my knowledge) american politician of high rank born out of wedlock, indeed the product of adultery.  he even may have had significant african blood.

slewie the pi-rat's picture

jefferson was prez the year of the duel;  burr was vice-prez at the time

i have an old half-cent from 1804, the year of the duel

burr was tried for treason in 1807;  john marshall sat as judge; some negativity around burr's raising a private army to drive the spaniards from mexico and florida and encouraging folks in the louisiana purchase to join his new republic...

Careless Whisper's picture

@ Burr's 2nd


Good points, all correct.  Nevertheless, I'm not willing to say that JP Morgan has on display, in its museum, "the pistol used in self-defense" by Aaron Burr.

WhiteWolf's picture

Come on Tyler, do it!! NEOSERF has the idea of a lifetime.  THE SCOREBOARD!!  So all the large wallets can sit around and tell each other who is kicking whose ass. I can see the neighborhood christmas parties now.  It will be a new era into "when EF Hutton speaks....." . NOBODY SHOULD LISTEN.  I would say that we can then see how much better we are all doing rather than paying some MSM MOPE driven low life trained Advisor, he sucks...Come on Matey!! 

Christoph830's picture

"Oh did I say 2011?  I meant 2012"

LoneStarHog's picture

Shit! Even with all the huffing and puffing from the PPT this idiot is a loser. Where would this circus clown be if markets were free and fair.

tao400's picture

How can one guy be so wrong about so many things? I mean really. how does he even have a job. Another one who is always wrong is Abby Joseph Cohen, yet Cnbc keeps marching her out. Though I like Wien, he is an idiot. How can anyone follow him. You know what is going on, it is like in the world of poker, the older guys are just totally out of touch and are not winning anymore. The young, internet poker players are winning all the time. We need someone predicting who knows the internet. Wien probably doesn't even know how to use email.

earleflorida's picture

is that all there is?

*June/2009: China 1,054.1 tonnes "Gold"___ Forex Reserves 0.17%

June/2009: Russia 8,851.5 tonnes "Gold"___ Forex Reserves 73.6%

June/2009: U.S.A. 8,133.5 tonnes "Gold"___ Forex Reserves 74.7%

**China has had alot of catching-up to do? 2 years later and ?

Miles Kendig's picture

The folks here off South Main Street were laughing our asses off at these absurd predictions last year when they were made.  We're thankful for them now as there is little else to laugh at but all this so called wisdom as it is rendered nothing more than passing gas.  And folks wonder why we're pissed these folks collect the coins they do for producing this crap...

Too bad I couldn't have got him on the other side of that TSY trade as I posted the 10yr would go below 2%.

eddiebe's picture

It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future.

JPM Hater001's picture

"10. Under duress Angela Merkel leads the way in European financial reform."


"10. Under duress Merkle leads 2 world leaders to the chopping block."

There.  fixed it.

Frank N. Beans's picture

10. Under her dress, Angela Merkel leads the way in [fill in the blank.]

UP Forester's picture

Bungee-jumping Crotch-crickets?

NumberNone's picture

“There are many methods for predicting the future. For example, you can read horoscopes, tea leaves, tarot cards, or crystal balls. Collectively, these methods are known as "nutty methods." Or you can put well-researched facts into sophisticated computer models, more commonly referred to as "a complete waste of time.” - scott adams