Billionaire Predictions 2010

Forbes

What will happen in 2010? Will gold stay strong and the dollar remain weak? Will stock markets continue to climb, and which asset classes will outperform?

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Rather than peering into a crystal ball, we turned to some of the world's richest and most successful businesspeople for their takes on the year ahead. We queried billionaires from around the world on a variety of topics ranging from global warming to the best assets to own in 2010.

Ten of the more talkative ones including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan answered our 10-question survey. But unlike last year when nearly all of the quizzed billionaires predicted an eventual economic recovery, this year's participants had wildly different ideas about where the global economy is heading and what they consider to be the most alarming trends. Consensus or not, their answers are quite revealing.

Billionaire Predictions 2010

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Norman Braman

Citizenship: U.S.
Net worth: $1.2 billion
Age: 77
Source of wealth: art, car dealerships





What is the most alarming trend facing the economy today?

The prospect of inflation in the future.

When will the Fed step in to strengthen the U.S. dollar?

Not until they're sure that our economy is back where it should be, and the only way they can strengthen the dollar is to take money out of circulation. I'm optimistic, though--we've seen our businesses doing better in the last three months.

In what direction will your country's stock market move, and what kind of returns do you anticipate?

I think it'll be choppy. In terms of returns, I think they'll be minimal.

Gold: buy, hold or sell?

Buy. I purchased last spring. When Paulson set up his gold fund I put some substantial money into it.

Which emerging world economy is the best bet for investors?

The experts keep talking about China and India, but I'll pass on that question.

What's the best asset to own in 2010?

Gold.

Will Twitter be a viable business in 2010? And do you use it?

Yes, it will be increasingly so. We use it in our company, but not me personally.

Global warming: fact or fiction? How much money should your government invest in emissions cuts?

I'm not sold on global warming. I'm not sure that the evidence is overwhelming, frankly, or that this is something that's unique to our times.

Who is going to win the World Cup?

I haven't the vaguest idea.

What will be the biggest surprise of 2010?

I'll pass on that one.

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John Catsimatidis

Citizenship: U.S.
Net Worth: $1.65 billion
Age: 61
Source of wealth: oil, real estate, supermarkets





What is the most alarming trend facing the economy today?

No lending to small and medium-sized businesses with great credit.

When will the Fed step in to strengthen the U.S. dollar?

Not for a few years. To strengthen the dollar one must raise interest rates, and if you do that you create a bigger problem for the real estate industry.

In what direction will your country's stock market move, and what kind of returns do you anticipate?

Has to go up and will probably double over the next seven years.

Gold: buy, hold or sell?

Hold for the interim; buy for the long term.

Which emerging world economy is the best bet for investors?

India.

What's the best asset to own in 2010?

Fixed assets with a return.

Will Twitter be a viable business in 2010? And do you use it?

No. My son set up an account for me, but I've never used it.

Global warming: fact or fiction? How much money should your government invest in emissions cuts?

Fiction in our lifetime. The government should take reasonable efforts but should not hurt businesses in carrying out those efforts.

Who is going to win the World Cup?

I am a Baseball fan.

What will be the biggest surprise of 2010?

Market hitting 12,000.

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