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Blackstone's Wien expects U.S. markets sell-off to abate

A man carries an umbrella in the rain as he passes the New York Stock Exchange October 16, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

DUBAI (Reuters) - The recent slump in U.S. stock prices, in which the S&P 500 index has posted four straight weekly losses for the first time in more than three years, is unlikely to go on for much longer, one of America's best-known investment strategists said on Sunday.

Byron Wien, veteran investor and vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners, part of investment and advisory firm Blackstone Group LP, told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Dubai it was unlikely the U.S. market would fall much further.

"Nobody knows how long it (falling markets) lasts and it always goes farther than you think, but I do think it's a correction and not the beginning of a bear market," Wien said. A bear market is an extended phase during which shares slump some 20 percent from their peak levels.

"Maybe it'll go a little bit further, but it's already gone down almost 10 percent, so I hope we're nearing the end of it," Wien added.

The S&P 500 was down more than 6 percent at the end of last week from a record high set in September, despite a rally on Friday aided by estimate-beating third-quarter earnings from blue chip stocks including General Electric. [MKTS/GLOB]

In an earlier presentation, Wien noted many of the factors which would indicate a recession might be around the corner, including inflated inventory levels and stretched company valuations, were not currently present in the United States.

(Reporting by David French; Editing by David Holmes)