NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Pundits love predictions, and we like listening -- as long as the experts hit the mark with solid research.
So let's give the floor to Chicago's Nuveen Asset Management and its chief equity strategist, Robert C. Doll, as he canvasses the economy and offers some hard-hitting predictions for the new year.
If Doll is right, it could translate into a good one for bank savers and retirement investors. If not, well, we'll wait until 2015 to take Doll to task. (In Doll's 2013 predictions, he called a slow-growing economy, held back by higher taxes and weaker government spending from the sequestration, and a fast-rising stock market -- on the mark for 2013.)
Here are five of Doll's predictions for the economy, investors and personal finance consumers this year:
The U.S. economy will grow by 3%. Doll says the economy will grow at a faster clip, as housing starts surpass 1 million new homes and private employment hits an all-time high. "After several false starts, the economic recovery which commenced in mid-2009 will likely show some broader and stronger growth in 2014," he says. Aside from a stronger housing market and an improving jobs sector, Doll cites "easing lending standards, low inflation, all-time high net worth, rising capital expenditures, less fiscal drag and improving non-U.S. growth."
Interest rates will rise. The current 10-Year Treasury yield stands at 2.99% as of Wednesday, but Doll says 10-year yields will rise to 3.50% this year, which would likely hike borrowing costs for big purchases such as mortgages, cars and student loans. It's all about the Federal Reserve's move to back away gradually in the nation's mortgage bond market. "We expect the bear market in bonds that began some 18 months ago to continue as interest rates slowly normalize," Doll says. "While the Fed will keep policy rates anchored close to zero, the long-awaited tapering process will likely be completed during the course of 2014."