BRIEF-Blackstone expects M&A to be up in 2013

Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:36pm EST

Jan 31 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP CEO steve schwarzman in a conference call with analysts: * All of the private equity returns in 2012 came in the second half * Says has had first close in new GSO rescue fund at $3.3 billion, expects to reach $4 billion this year * Says strength in U.S. housing market is area of real significant change in the economy * Says U.S. political risks to economic growth will weighing on M&A * Says expects M&A activity to be up 10 to 20 percent in 2013

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