With his battle against regulators behind him, Leon Cooperman can focus fully on his reputation as a living legend of investing.
Earlier this month, the head of Omega Advisors settled insider trading charges leveled by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The damages came to $4.9 million, but without any suspension from the industry.
As he looks ahead to normalcy and getting back some of the $4 billion in client assets he lost during his SEC ordeal, Cooperman told CNBC that he’s got 19 stocks on his radar screen. They are:
Cooperman likes the energy stocks in particular, believing that oil prices are heading closer to $60 this year.
On the market in general, he believes there seems little in the air to trigger a major fall, but also sees limited upside room.
“The market outlook is OK, but I think the market for now is fully priced,” he said during an interview on “Fast Money Halftime Report.” “I think it’s ahead of the fundamentals.”
One thing he said the market has working against it is the growing unlikelihood that key tenets of President Donald Trump‘s pro-growth agenda will get enacted this year. Another is that productivity remains low, while a third is that economy is near full employment and rising wages could start pushing inflation higher.
However, Cooperman also said signs indicating that a market tumble is coming aren’t in the air. The global economy is growing, the Fed and other central banks remain accommodative even though they are gradually tightening monetary policy, and there is a lack of “excesses” in pricing or sentiment.
If anything, he believes market structure rather than fundamentals could prove the biggest issue ahead.
“With all the technology and all these (exchange-traded funds) and quantitative systems that have been introduced, I do have concern that technology has outpaced the market’s ability to handle it,” Cooperman said. “When we get into the next bear market, it could be a messy affair.”
He also is advising against bonds.
Investors have continued to pour money into fixed income despite signs that inflation is on the rise and yields are going to move higher as well. Rising yields come as prices fall, eating into the principal of fixed income instruments.
“At the moment, the bubble is not equities,” Cooperman said. “The bubble is fixed income.”