David Tepper Sees "A Lot" of Upside in Equity Markets: Latest Media Appearance ~ market folly

Monday, December 17, 2012

David Tepper Sees "A Lot" of Upside in Equity Markets: Latest Media Appearance

Appaloosa Management's founder David Tepper made a rare media appearance on CNBC this morning so we wanted to highlight the key takeaways and post up the full videos below.

Many of you will recall that one of Tepper's appearances a few years ago launched the aptly-titled 'Tepper rally' in the markets after he said he wouldn't fight the Fed.  So what's his take on the markets this time around?  Read on below:

David Tepper's Latest Thoughts

CNBC noted that Tepper's $16 billion hedge fund is up 25% net on the year. He thinks there's a "pretty good economy, growing 2% give or take" with tailwinds in housing and autos.  He highlighted how the Fed is focused on unemployment.

On Europe

Tepper also drew attention to Europe's situation, noting that "whenever Draghi wants to lower interest rates in Europe, he can do it."  He feels this aspect wasn't really well reported and that it's important because you have a "series of puts over in Europe" via central bank action.

On Credit Markets

The Appaloosa man said that credit markets are "rich and spreads are at pretty good levels right now."  He didn't want to call them in bubble territory, but said they're close.

Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Tepper if he was shorting some high yield, and Tepper said: "No.  I would short with a trillion dollar of stimulus of Fed coming in and short?  You can short it if you want, I'm not going to short it ... This money has to go someplace."

On Equity Markets

Tepper points out that there's a 12-handle PE on the S&P, saying "it's cheap relative to everything, it's the only market that hasn't really rose to new heights."  He says the situation in Washington is holding everybody back, noting that there could be 3-5% downside in the market if things become dire.

When asked how much upside was left in the equity markets, Tepper simply replied "a lot."  It's clear that Tepper continues to live by the mantra 'don't fight the Fed.'

While stocks have risen a solid amount since his original 'Tepper rally' call in 2010, he notes that the P/E hasn't expanded that much.  When asked about current valuation, he replied that "it is really, really interesting.  I hate to say how cheap it is."

On Inflation

He also touched on the Fed's actions and potential inflation:  "At some point everybody's concerned about inflation.  On the way to inflation in the real economy, you're gonna have another sort of inflation.  It's inflation in asset prices."

Tepper pointed out that a lot of hedge fund managers have taken money off the table because they "don't want to take a year-end loss," again pointing to the Fiscal cliff situation and noting the potential downside there.  Tepper says he's willing to take a chance (but you also have to keep in mind he's already up 25% this year."

Appaloosa's 2012 Playbook

Tepper laid out how his hedge fund has essentially played this year:  In December (2011), they waited for the LTRO and *then* invested.  In April, he thought the economy was slowing so he bought some puts (noting he saw low put vol at the time).  Then Draghi "gave away" a market put and Appaloosa got invested.  Then in front of the US election, he took down his long exposure, assuming the market would sell-off on Obama's re-election.  And when things sold off, he started buying some equities again, getting long into year-end.

As far as his allocations go, he outlined that "We probably have 70% of our book in bonds and stocks.  We move them up and down based on the individual names."  Then they use options to trade around volatility.

Tepper on Selling Due to Potential Capital Gains Increase

"Yea, we've basically taken a bunch of our long-term gains this year to lock-in these lower rates for our investors."  This is a phenomenon that's certainly happened across the markets and notably amongst hedge funds.  We'd cite Apple (AAPL) as a primary example as many prominent funds were sitting on a large position with large long-term gains.

Videos of Tepper's Interview

Embedded below are videos of Tepper's latest CNBC appearance:

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

It looks like CNBC has the wrong code for the third video, but you can watch it here.

For more on the Appaloosa founder, head to our review of The Alpha Masters, a book that Tepper is profiled in.

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