Experts Offer Cloudy Financial Forecast for 2012

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- As if on cue, just before economic experts began offering their predictions for 2012 Wednesday morning, the sun broke through the clouds outside the Cunningham Center at Columbus State University.

The invited guests at the Financial Forecast 2012 State of the Market breakfast organized by CSU’s Turner College of Business and Computer Science then heard opinions that mirrored the way the sun was darting in and out of the clouds.

“For 2012, we can look for a repeat of the last two years,” said keynote speaker Dorsey Farr, co-founder and chief strategist of French, Wolf and Farr, an Atlanta-based investment firm. “Optimism is building. We think it will continue for a while as the data recently has been pretty good. But ultimately I think we are in for disappointment.”

Other speakers at the breakfast were part of a panel of local business representatives: Mark Hudson, senior vice president at SunTrust Bank; Richard Illges, partner at Greatmark Investment Partners; Robert Nobles, vice president and regional investment manager at Synovus Trust Co.;  and John Shinkle, senior vice president and branch manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

On the whole, their forecasts were more optimistic than Farr’s but tempered as well.

“We’ve already seen analysts cut their estimates, but we don’t see them cutting them by enough or fast enough,” Farr said. “We think we’re going to see another volatile environment.”

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