We profiled Carl Icahn’s notorious bearishness most recently two weeks ago when we showed that for the second quarter in a row, the billionaire’s hedge fund, Icahn Enterprises had kept on its record short bias, manifesting in a net -149% market exposure.
Unlike other hedge fund managers, however, Icahn does not provide monthly letters explaining his mindset which is why we eagerly watched a expansive, 40 minute interview he gave to Bloomberg’s Erik Shatzker, in which in addition to a detailed discussion of Trump and how the Republican presidential candidate would change the US economy, he shared some much needed insights into his gloomy vision of the market.
Below are some of the key excerpts from his discussion of the market:
Shatzker: Why is it that the stock market is where it is? That with valuations so high that I noticed in the letter that — or at least in a statement that you made with your son, Bret, earlier this month, that you don’t feel confident making any large investments?
ICAHN: Aabsolutely, Erik. I have hedges on, I’m more hedged than I ever was. I will tell you there’s certainly good companies. [The market] is way overvalued at 20 times the S&P and I’ll tell you why: a lot of it is a result of zero interest rates. It’s just what I said. You have zero interest and a lot of buybacks. Money is not going into capital.
So think of it as a rich family that just decides “we’re just going to have a lot of fun, we’re going to sit around in the pool, and we’ll keep printing up IOUs to the town, we’ve got a good name.” You keep doing it until you go broke. And this is what’s happening in our economy. Zero interest rates are building huge bubbles. You have retirees that saved a million bucks, half a million bucks.
I think the market is at literally very high levels because of zero interest rates, and if you really look at it, the dollar is pretty strong right now, which is going to hurt international earnings. The S&P, they live on international earnings. That’s going to be hurt. There’s going to be a day of reckoning here. I’ve seen it many times in my life. When things look good, they look great. You go into the sky. But that’s when you have to really pull down and really stop buying. That being said, I’m not going to tell you it’s going to happen tomorrow, next week, even next month, even next year possibly. But it’s going to happen, and you have to change the direction of our economy. I can’t say it plainer than that.
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