Stocks are overvalued and the US economy is likely to fall back into a recession next year, well-known analyst Meredith Whitney told CNBC.
"I haven't been this bearish in a year," she said in a live interview. "I look at the board and every single stock from Tiffany to Bank of America to Caterpillar is up. But there is no fundamental rooting as to why these names are up—particularly in the consumer space."
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In a wide-ranging interview, Whitney, CEO of the Meredith Whitney Advisory Group, also said:
- She was disappointed that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke didn't spell out how the Federal Reserve planned to exit "the biggest Fed program to date, which is the mortgage-backed purchase program." In a speech earlier Thursday, Bernanke said the central bank was watching the dollar's decline but is likely to keep interest rates low.
- The US consumer was going through the biggest credit contraction ever—even bigger than that during the Great Depression. "That credit contraction is accelerating," she said. "There's nowhere to hide at this point."
- The banking sector is not adequately capitalized and will need to raise more capital in the coming year.
- The residential real estate market is likely to worsen and remains a much bigger threat than the commercial property market. The government's mortgage modification program won't result in any major improvement in homeowners' ability to stay above water, she added.
"I don't know what's going on in the market right now because it makes no sense to me," she said.
"The scariest thing about the Fed's program is that the money on the sidelines isn't going to support that asset class," she added. "So the trillion dollars of Fannie (Mae), Freddie (Mac) and mortgage-backed securities that the Fed is holding—there's no substitute buyer there."