Blackstone’s Schwarzman Gives U.S. Economy ‘Good Grade’

Stephen Schwarzman, chairman of private-equity firm Blackstone Group LP, gave the U.S. a “good grade” as economic growth is being fueled by strength in the housing, auto, energy and technology industries.

“The economy is moving forward,” Schwarzman said today in an interview with Erik Schatzker and Sara Eisen on Bloomberg Television’s “Market Makers.” “There are some real pockets of strength.”

Schwarzman, who has been a critic of President Barack Obama and supported Republican Mitt Romney in last year’s presidential election, said he sees opportunities in U.S. real estate as some troubled assets have not yet been restructured. He also cited promising investments in European and Asian real estate as banks in the continents have cut back on lending. Blackstone last year put $3.5 billion of equity in European property deals, the firm said last month.

“In Europe, the banks haven’t really fully sold their troubled assets the way they have in the States,” said Schwarzman, who co-founded New York-based Blackstone in 1985. “In Asia, where banks have cut back lending and developers are in trouble, the prices of assets have come down a bit and all of a sudden, there are a lot of sellers.”

Schwarzman said today he sees Blackstone growing its assets to $500 billion, without saying when. The firm oversaw $218.2 billion as of March 31.

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