Omega Advisors CEO Cooperman Says Fed Rates Make Stocks Best Bet
The near-zero interest rate policy of the Federal Reserve has made U.S. stocks the only game in town for investors, Omega Advisors CEO Leon Cooperman told CNBC.
"The [Fed] has created an environment where there is no effective alternative to stocks," the hedge fund titan said on "Squawk Box" Wednesday.
"I could keep [money] in cash and that's zero, and the Fed has told us that it's going to be zero for a couple of more years," Cooperman said.
Cooperman also dismissed investing in U.S. government bonds, calling the 1.8 percent yield "ridiculous" on the 10-year note. "Adjusted for taxes and inflation you're getting a negative return."
As for bonds over the next three or four years, he said he believes there will be significant negative returns. "They make no sense."
Omega Advisors has $6.6 billion under management. It's up 30 percent year-to-date, while the hedge fund industry as a whole is only up about 5.7 percent.
Asked whether he's a bull or a bear, he said he's like a "buffalo," saying the stock market could go up 10 percent or down 10 percent. "More likely up than down because of the economy and because of the Fed," he said.
"Half the stocks in the market are now yielding more than fixed income. You have to go back to 1958 to see that kind of condition." But he warned that returns in stocks will be less than historical averages.
Cooperman remains bullish on stocks, despite the fiscal cliff next year of automatic tax increases and spending cuts hanging over the market. He said, he thinks the U.S. debt crisis is solvable. "We need to give up a little bit — a little pain, a little suffering. Some of the old-time virtues."
Cooperman said he hopes for leadership in the country before our debt crisis reaches a tipping point. "One of these days we're going to wake up and the market is going to turn on us. Not like it turned on Greece. But we face that risk."