Who saw the financial meltdown of 2008 coming? Why the bears, of course. Kiplinger's Personal Finance went back to see which investors, analysts and academics made the right predictions about the market and economy in 2008 and asked each for their 2009 outlook. Although some, like Jeremy Grantham, see hope for 2009, these Cassandras remain a dour bunch. As for us, we expect that the recession will end in mid-2009 and that stocks could gain 5% to 8% for the year (see Outlook 2009).
||SLIDE SHOW: Bad Media Calls of 2008|
||STORY: Bad Media Calls of 2008|
WHAT HE SAID: There is going to be a recession next year ... The bursting of the housing bubble -- we have not seen it yet -- is going to lead to broader systemic banking problems. It is going to start with the subprime lenders ... and then it is going to be transmitted to other banks and financial institutions all over the country. -- September 7, 2006, speech to the International Monetary Fund
HIS PREDICTION FOR 2009: I expect that the recession will be very severe and that it won't be over before the end of 2009. And even though we might technically be out of recession in 2010, annual growth could be just 1.0% to 1.5% for several years if the credit crunch remains severe. I think there is a further 15% to 20% downside risk for global and U.S. stocks, and a further 15% to 20% downside risk for commodity prices. So 2009 will be a year of recession and deflation.
WHAT HE SAID: This is going to be an enormous credit crunch. The party is over for the United States ... [Subprime] is not a tiny [problem], and it's not just subprime -- it's the entire mortgage market. -- August 18, 2007, Fox News
HIS PREDICTION FOR 2009: The dollar is going to resume its fall, leading to a resurgence in the bull market in commodities. That will pierce the bubble in the bond market, causing interest rates to go up. So we're going to be in a depressionary environment, but with rising prices and rising interest rates. Our economy will be a mess for years and years to come.
WHAT SHE SAID: We believe that over the near term, Citigroup will need to raise over $30 billion in capital through either asset sales, a dividend cut, a capital raise or a combination thereof. We believe such a catalyst will pressure the stock significantly lower. -- October 31, 2007, research note [Citigroup announced a 41% dividend cut on January 15.]
HER PREDICTION FOR 2009: We believe we are now entering a new era in the financial landscape that will be characterized by expanded forced consumer deleveraging, with a pronounced downshift in consumer spending ... Specific to the credit-card industry, we believe that well over $2 trillion of lines [of credit] will be pulled over the next 18 months. -- November 30, 2008, research note
WHAT HE SAID: Corporate profits, household incomes, asset prices and economic performance have all evolved to the point of acute dependency on ongoing leveraged speculation and rampant credit inflation ... Mortgage finance is tightening, with negative portents for inflated housing prices, the overleveraged consumer, scores of exposed debt instruments and financial institutions, and the highly maladjusted U.S. bubble economy. -- March 2007, letter to shareholders
HIS PREDICTION FOR 2009: The dollar will decline, and it's very possible that inflation will pick up. The S&P 500 index could easily fall to 450 or so [it closed December 19 at 887.88]. This will be a longer-term decline -- you'll see fits and starts and significant rallies, which will be selling opportunities. But it's likely going to take four to five to ten years. Investors should be selling equities and conserving cash. I think gold represents a phenomenal opportunity right now.