Barron’s roundtable discussion/predictions 2014 is out. Last year, the picks did very well. The link to the full article can be found here. Berkshire board member Meryl Witmer is a member of the roundtable. She had very little to say this year, but her words are worth listening to. Below are her thoughts on four different questions discussed by the panel, but first her picks from last year…

Meryl Witmer’s Picks 
Company/Ticker  Price
1/11/2013
Price
12/31/2013
Change  Total Return
Spectrum Brands Holdings/SPB $48.11 $70.55 46.60% 48.70%
Chicago Bridge & Iron/CBI 47.22 83.14 76.1 76.5
Tribune Company/TRBAA 49.25 77.4 57.2 57.2

 

Enough! Meryl, what is your economic forecast for this year?

Witmer: The U.S. economy could grow by 3%, maybe a little more. Companies are doing well. Fracking is a help. Manufacturing companies are onshoring [bringing production back to the U.S. from other countries]. Stocks, however, don’t look inexpensive.

There’s a big debate in the market about profit margins. If they are unsustainably high, stocks could soon look more expensive. Will margins come down, or have they shifted to a higher level indefinitely?

Witmer: It looks like there’s more greed than fear in the market.

On Fracking

Witmer: They will have higher stock prices to use as deal currency.

If China slows

Witmer: But China will have cleaner air.