Delivering Alpha Best Ideas Panel: Cooperman, Chanos, Feldstein & More ~ market folly

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Delivering Alpha Best Ideas Panel: Cooperman, Chanos, Feldstein & More

CNBC and Institutional Investor's Delivering Alpha Conference is going on today and we wanted to aggregate the highlights.  The "best ideas" panel included Omega Advisors' Leon Cooperman, Kynikos Associates' Jim Chanos, BlueMountain Capital's Andrew Feldstein, Queen Anne's Gate Capital's Kathleen Kelley, and BlackRock's Robert Kapito.

From the conference, we've also posted up the global opportunities panel as well as the chasing yield panel.

Leon Cooperman (Omega Advisors):  He pitched going long US stocks and called them the best house in the financial neighborhood, a tune he has been singing for well over a year.  However, he did make an excellent point that the maximum "pain trade" is going higher as tons of people are sitting on large sums of cash earning nothing. 

As for specific names he likes: Capital One (COF), Express Scripts (ESRX), Halliburton (HAL), Gannett (GCI), Kinder Morgan (KMI), MetLife (MET), Qualcomm (QCOM), Watson Pharma (WPI) and Western Union (WU).  He also likes AIA Group (1299.HK) traded in Hong Kong.

The Omega Advisors founder also continued to bash bonds, saying "buying US bonds right now is like walking in front of a steam roller and picking up dimes.  It's just not a good policy."

As far as the election goes, he thinks that if Romney wins, the market will spike by 150 points, but if Obama wins, it drifts lower. For more from the Omega man, we just posted up Leon Cooperman on 14 attributes that make a good portfolio manager.

Jim Chanos (Kynikos Associates):  The noted short-seller was out again negative on tech companies.  He mainly pitched the bear case on Hewlett Packard (HPQ), calling it a value trap.  We just recently highlighted Chanos' presentation on global value traps where HPQ was highlighted among other names.

He says that "when you lose the paradigm shift, you spend an awful lot of money defending what you have."  He compared HPQ to Eastman Kodak as the company is in declining businesses.

Chanos also touched on how instead of giving cash back to shareholders, companies will make value-destroying acquisitions.  He cited HPQ's buy of Autonomy last year.  The Kynikos man argues that HPQ has overspent on acquisitions and they're hiding research & development expenditures through them.

He's also negative on Dell (DELL) saying that the company finances its subprime customers (financing their revenue growth).  For more on Chanos we just recently posted up his thoughts on the psychology of short selling.

Andrew Feldstein (BlueMountain Capital):  He likes less liquid credit, angling for 8-12% returns over a 3-7 year time horizon.  He says you have to be patient as this opportunity is available due to everyone's obsession with liquidity (i.e. don't put your money here if you don't have an appropriate time horizon).  He mentioned bonds such as Prospect Medical if you can buy and hold.  Feldstein also mentioned he's less excited about legacy distressed assets in Europe.

Kathleen Kelley (Queen Anne's Gate Capital):  Formerly of Tudor and Kingdon, she pitched two ideas: short the British pound (against long US dollar) as well as short platinum, targeting 20-30% moves to the downside.  She wants to be long the USD against the sterling because the USD can be a commodity currency.

She also likes shorting platinum as there's an oversupply due to slowing Euro auto sales.  At the Ira Sohn conference two months ago, Ospraie's Dwight Anderson pitched going short platinum as well (in addition to going long palladium).

Robert Kapito (BlackRock):  He's going for the "income hog" approach by focusing on equity dividend funds, dividend stocks like AT&T (T), Verizon (VZ), Merck (MRK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), high yield bond funds (or individual issues from Sprint, Ally) and municipal bonds such as the San Francisco Airport, New Jersey Tolls.  He thinks that default worry surrounding munis is "overrated."

Sources: Notes sent by readers, II's blog, @iimag@ldelevingne, @footnoted, @aarontask

For more from Delivering Alpha, head to the global opportunities panel (featuring Richard Perry) as well as the hunt for yield panel (featuring Marc Lasry)

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