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Surprises in Store for 2004

18. Freddie Mac's (FRE) former executives are jailed, precipitating more restrictive rules governing derivative accounting at government-sponsored agencies and at other financial institutions. Rudy Giuliani is appointed FRE's chairman.

19. Bernie Ebbers, Dennis Kozlowski and Scott Sullivan receive maximum-length jail sentences.

20. Disney's (DIS) Michael Eisner is replaced by an executive at Procter & Gamble (PG). Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan resigns owing to poor health.

21. The New York Stock Exchange, in a stunning reversal , goes fully electronic by year end. John Reed remains as chairman and orchestrates the transformation. Goldman Sachs (GS) takes a $6.7 billion goodwill impairment charge off its 2000 acquisition of Spear Leeds, and LaBranche (LAB) liquidates its assets.

22. Henry Blodgett is hired as a research analyst by a second-tier Wall Street firm.

23. There are no major terrorist acts in the U.S. and limited disturbances outside our country during the year.

Doug Kass is the manager of two hedge funds, Seabreeze Partners and Kass Partners, and reknowned for his emphasis on a short-selling strategy. Prior to that, he was a portfolio manager at hedge fund Omega Advisors, and head of institutional equities at First Albany and J.W. Charles. At time of original publication, Kass and/or his funds were short Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, LaBranche, Ford, J.P. Morgan and Wachovia, and long General Electric, Time Warner, First Tennessee, Marsh & McLennan and Alliance Capital, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Kass appreciates your feedback and invites you to send it to Doug Kass
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