FORTUNE -- The outlook for the global economy got a bearish blast of cold air from the Great White North. --Alex Konrad
The worse things get, the more accurate David Rosenberg looks. The longtime bear decamped from Merrill Lynch following the Bank of America (BAC) takeover and returned to his home city of Toronto, where he became chief economist at Gluskin Sheff. Since then he has consistently nailed his economic projections, particularly in 2011.
Back in January, when others were looking for signs that the global economy was beginning to rebound, Rosenberg called it a "bear market rally." He said that yields on 10-year Treasury bonds would plummet. As he later described it, that was sticking his neck out even further than he had in the past. "I said [yields] would melt like a snowball on the sidewalk in Houston in July."
Consider them melted: In mid-August, yields fell below 2% for the first time ever, where they've more or less remained. "Most people are still looking through the lens of a garden-variety business cycle," Rosenberg says, adding that the economic patterns of history -- which would have indicated much stronger GDP growth by now -- have to go out the window. His take on 2012? He thinks we'll get answers -- from the presidential elections, Chinese fiscal policy, and the euro -- even though they may not be the ones we want. "In 2012," he says, "the emperor will be disrobed."
The best and worst of Wall Street 2011
This article is from the December 26, 2011 issue of Fortune.
FORTUNE -- The line between "portfolio manager" and "trader" has blurred, and in 2011 that was a good thing. Many current managers started their careers as traders, and in the past year -- as both commodities and stocks showed stomach-churning volatility -- the ability to get into and out of positions quickly has been crucial. Traders operate behind the scenes, but we found four who have the respect of their MOREDec 12, 2011 5:00 AM ET
FORTUNE -- Bigger was not always better when it came to picking stocks this year. Meanwhile, banking's loneliest defender soldiered on. --Alex Konrad
Donna Jaegers D.A. Davidson
Small is beautiful. In a year in which a lot of well-known analysts got crunched, the best-performing was Donna Jaegers, who works at a tiny firm (D.A. Davidson in Denver) and picked small-caps in her sector, telecom. Fortune asked Zacks Research to rank analysts in eight sectors MOREDec 12, 2011 5:00 AM ET
FORTUNE -- Experience wins out. It was supposed to be a rebound year for M&A, but the soft global economy, euro fears, and antitrust issues put a lot of deals on ice. Two sectors -- energy and technology -- picked up steam, though, and a few dealmakers stood out. --Anne VanderMey
Hugh "Skip" McGee III Head of global investment banking, Barclays Capital
A Texan who has worked in energy M&A for 24 years, MOREDec 12, 2011 5:00 AM ET
A look back at the highs and lows of the past year in the financial markets.
FORTUNE -- To borrow from the 1978 camp classic, "Greece" is the word. Looking back at 2011, the European debt crisis -- particularly Europe's protracted will-they-or-won't-they debate over coming to the aid of their Greco-roamin' common currency partners -- was probably the single biggest factor to impact the financial markets. As if that weren't enough, MOREDec 12, 2011 5:00 AM ET
FORTUNE -- In the turbulence of 2011, boring was beautiful for mutual funds. Riskier funds that owned shares of banks and emerging-markets companies got crushed, while safe, plain-vanilla portfolios focusing on utilities, health care, and consumer staples shone. And the top performers owned Treasuries; as investors fled risky sovereign debt, funds that held long-term bonds from the U.S. government returned 28% on average.
Among major fund companies, the top performer was MOREDec 12, 2011 5:00 AM ET
FORTUNE -- The past year was harvest time in the private capital markets, as venture capital and buyout firms looked to sell long-held portfolio holdings or take them public. In addition to huge IPOs for HCA (HCA), LinkedIn (LNKD), and Groupon (GRPN), there were a few big surprise deals, like Microsoft's (MSFT) acquisition of Skype. Blackstone also had a good year And it was a time of stratification, in MOREDec 12, 2011 5:00 AM ET
FORTUNE -- It's been a brutal year for hedge funds, and some former stars are stepping down. The super-secretive Bruce Kovner is retiring after 28 years atop $10 billion Caxton Associates; billionaires George Soros and Carl Icahn are returning outsiders' money; and the once-exalted Goldman Sachs (GS) Global Alpha fund was shuttered this fall. "It's a changing of the guard," says Emma Sugarman, global head of capital introductions at BNP MOREDec 12, 2011 5:00 AM ET
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