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Cooperman expects little from market, only watching individual stocks

Leon Cooperman at the 2019 Delivering Alpha conference in New York on Sept. 19, 2019.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman said he remains a bear with little interest in the broader stock market, partly because it’s underestimating the risk of a fiscal crisis.

“I’m of the view that we borrow from the future with very profligate fiscal policy,” Cooperman said at CNBC’s Financial Advisor Summit. “Ultimately, we will have a crisis in public sector finance, and the market is not discounting a crisis. Overall, I expect very little from the market.”

The chair and CEO of the Omega Family Office said the unprecedented stimulus has pulled demand forward and created an artificial situation in the economy. The national debt of the U.S. recently reached a historic milestone by passing $33 trillion for the first time.

Given his long-term pessimism, Cooperman isn’t buying the stock market benchmarks. Instead, he’s hunting for bargains in individual names.

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S&P 500

“The market has been, as you know, extraordinary bifurcated. If you take out the Magnificent 7, the overall market has done nothing and maybe it’s down a little bit or flat,” Cooperman said. “I’m not interested in the S&P. I’m interested in individual stocks.”

He said he would be very surprised if the S&P 500 climbs above 4,600 anytime this year. The large-cap benchmark is still up about 13% this year, trading around 4,344.

The veteran investor said his advice for what to buy right now would be, in order of preference, his favorite cheap stocks, then short-dated Treasurys, and his least favorite would be long-term bonds. Some of his favorite value names are Canadian energy producers Tourmaline Oil and Paramount Resources.

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