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Surprises in Store for 2004

7. The IPO and secondary markets launch a meaningful comeback during the second half of the year. Indeed, the IPO market heats up and, like rising home prices, begins to resemble the bubble of 1999-early 2000 (something no one presumed likely!).

8. Fidelity goes public in an IPO that doubles in the first day of trading.

9. A well-known and large hedge fund fraudulently misprices its portfolio of private investments and has a run on its assets. Calls for stricter regulation of hedge funds gain momentum as the Senate conducts public hearings.

10. Time Warner sells its AOL division to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in a leveraged buyout during the third quarter after settling SEC charges in early January 2004 and as subscriber losses moderate.

11. Marsh & McLennan (MMC) sells its Putnam subsidiary to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa). Marsh shares rise by more than 50% in the aftermath of the sale.

12. A low-cost airline carrier, which turned out to scrimp on maintenance and pilot training, crashes.

13. Tiger Management's Julian Robertson re-emerges as a major force in the hedge fund community -- after raising more than $5 billion for a new partnership.

14. Eliot Spitzer announces that he has no intention to run for public office and enters the private sector.

15. Robert Rubin leaves Citigroup and replaces an aging Hank Greenberg as AIG's (AIG) chairman.

16. A unified Democratic Party rallies behind Mass. Sen. John Kerry after three state primaries. However, President George Bush wins the presidential election in one of the largest pluralities in history as Sen. Kerry wins only two states in the general election.

17. SunTrust (STI) distributes its 122 million shares of Coca-Cola (KO) in a secondary offering.
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