Julian Robertson Calls Environment 'Precarious,' Likes Ulta Salon, Delta & Others ~ market folly

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Julian Robertson Calls Environment 'Precarious,' Likes Ulta Salon, Delta & Others

Tiger Management's Julian Robertson was on CNBC last week and we wanted to highlight some of his comments from the transcript.  Stocks Robertson mentioned in the interview that he likes include Ulta Salon (ULTA), Delta Airlines (DAL), WuXi Pharma (WX), DigitalGlobe (DGI) and Norwegian company Schibsted,

On the economic landscape: "Well, I would-- characterize it as precarious. And-- I think everyone knows that. And-- I think that-- rather than just sitting back and-- saying, "What if this happens or that happens"-- we go ahead and find good companies and invest in them and-- bad companies and-- them."

On Ulta Salon (ULTA): "But I do see sweet stocks that I really love and like and-- think are going to do well. And-- one is-- a company that-- probably makes that beautiful toenail polish you've got on. A company called Ulta. And it has just beautiful beauty salons all over the country.  And it sells all the great products. And it's growing-- probably at 25%-- or so, will grow that way over the next three or four years. This year won't be quite that good. But-- it is just amazing what's happened. And-- how well they've caught this great movement. And-- we've interviewed a lot of women and Ulta is where they're going."

On what he looks for when picking stocks:  "Well, I-- one of the things that I'm particularly interested in is-- stocks and who's already picked them. And-- we've had some really good people here who have excelled in certain fields and-- I love to see really what they had bought recently. And-- Ulta is one of those stocks. And-- I think it's going to be a real good one for next year, so."

On the market: "That's really the way I'm looking at stocks primarily now. I think we're in the middle of a kind of a bubble market, where it's going to take something-- bubble-like to happen. And-- prick the bubble and we'll probably have pretty bad-- reactions to the breaking of the bubble. But-- probably not right now. And somehow I think we'll wallow through the political and fiscal crisis we have in front of us. And then we'll sort of see what happens ... I think the market is reasonably -- yes, is fully valued."

On DigitalGlobe (DGI):  "Digital Globe is I think a really great company. And it's had its virtual monopoly in the area where it is. And-- I think they're really these satellites that are up flying around are-- it's a great business to be in."

On WuXi Pharma (WX): "This year one of our best stocks has been-- a Chinese company which-- disintermediates-- PhDs. In other words, instead of getting a U.S. PhD for maybe-- $20,000 a month, you get a Chinese PhD for-- $3,000 a month.  And-- it's a company that's named Wuxi that supplies the really good Chinese researchers. And-- I've been in that stock for several years and it's just been lately that it's started to do anything. And I don't know why that is or was or anything. But it's been a really good performer of late-- Wuxi.  you're buying-- something at a fifth the price you were paying before. And-- you figure that's going to work at some time. And these Chinese PhDs are really well-trained and very, very good and-- Wuxi is able to come up with good ones."

On Twitter's IPO: "I don't plan to be (a buyer of the IPO).  That isn't to say that I won't.  But I don't expect to at this point.  I think social media is very long-lasting.  I just don't know the particular thing with Twitter."

On the airlines:  "Well, we're beginning to put some money in the airlines. And-- I mean, Delta airline, the airlines have been weeded down. And-- Delta Airlines (DAL) a very good story. I mean, it's at a very reasonable price and it's a good airline. I've talked to you about Ryanair (RYAAY), which is a low-cost producer in the world. I think that-- area is something to look at. And there-- they-- there have been-- I think some really interesting moves made in that industry.  Seems so much (consolidation) that I think it will slow down from here."

On Europe:"I think a lot of smart Europeans think that Europe has bottomed. And I-- I've been hearing that increasingly. And-- I-- I'm not completely sure of that. But-- it's certainly better than it was."

On Schibsted: "Schibsted is a very interesting company. We came upon-- Schibsted-- it was-- we had-- a model we were setting up on-- newspaper stocks. And Schibsted had come out as being wildly overpriced. And then we went into it in thorough detail and-- although it's true that-- Schibsted had still had its papers, it had gone tremendously into internet products.  And-- it is really an internet-- producer-- media producer of internet products-- throughout the world now and-- is going to grow at very rapid rates for the next several years. And-- so I think Schibsted is quite a terrific-- Norwegian company."

On his success: "(What) I've done is-- hired really good people and never been self-conscious of hiring people that were smarter than I am. And-- it's been fun for me to work with them and-- to play with them in all that we've had together. And-- so that's the secret sauce."

On being long or short this market:  "Well, I think you have to have kind of-- a little more--sort of lean towards-- being conservative in a market like this. It's just-- gotten a little too -- I would say raising cash or going short."

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