Renown hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman thinks the S&P 500 index could climb to the 1,425 level by year-end, trader Pete Najarian said Thursday. Energy and technology stocks will likely propel the index to that level, Cooperman told Najarian off-camera.
The former CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Cooperman spent 25 years at the New York City-based financial institution. In 1991, Cooperman left Goldman and started Omega Advisors. Today, he manages roughly $6 billion.
As a value investor, Cooperman’s top value picks currently include CVS Caremark, E*TRADE Financial, General Motors , MGIC Investment and Transocean.
Cooperman said he currently has a "very decent" size position in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited . The company has $3 billion in annual free cash flow, is buying back stock and has a good growth profile, Cooperman said. He thinks the stock is attractive, as it sells for 8 times earnings.
When asked about commodities, Cooperman was bullish on oil. After all, he thinks the price of oil is correlated to economic activity. When oil was trading at roughly $150 a barrel, Cooperman said there was every reason for oil companies to increase production. They didn’t, however, because he thinks they had difficulty in locating the additional supply.
Tim Seymour of EmergingMoney.com noted that recent data, such as the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing index, suggests an economic slowdown. Cooperman downplayed demand issues, though, explaining recent slowdowns were weather-induced. The U.S. economy seems to be on track for 3 percent real gross domestic product growth, Cooperman said. If that proves to be true, Cooperman doesn’t think the price of oil is going down.
To play it, Cooperman likes Transocean on expectation off-shore drilling could turnaround. Plus, the stock pays a high dividend yield.
Cooperman appeared on Thursday’s “Fast Money Halftime Report,” which was broadcast live from the third annual SkyBridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas.
Got something to to say? Send us an e-mail at email@example.com and your comment might be posted on the Rapid Recap. If you'd prefer to make a comment, but not have it published on our Web site, send those e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A previous version of this story mistated a Cooperman recommendation. Cooperman does not recommend Magic Software Enterprises (MGIC). He does, however, recommend MGIC Investment (MTG).
Trader disclosure: On May 12, 2011, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders; Karen Finerman owns (ESV) and (JPM). Pete Najarian owns (PFE), (MRK), (AAPL), (TCK), (AKAM), (C), (HPQ), (TEVA), (MS), (RSX), (GE), (MSFT), (YHOO), (VLO) and (TER). Pete Najarian is long (RIMM) calls. Pete Najarian is long (AVL) calls. Pete Najarian is long (NTAP) calls. Pete Najarian is long (XLF) calls. Pete Najarian is long (PMCS) calls. Pete Najarian is long (CVS) calls. Pete Najarian is long (XL) calls. Pete Najarian is long (BSX) calls. Pete Najarian is long (HBC) calls. Pete Najarian is long (EWZ) calls. Pete Najarian is long (XLI) calls. Pete Najarian is long (FCX) calls. Guy Adami owns (AGU), (C), (GS), (MSFT), (NUE) and (BTU).
Cooperman Owns (ETFC), (GM), (RIG), (MTG), (TEVA), (CVS) In His Fund
Finerman's Firm owns (M)
Finerman's Firm owns (TGT)
Finerman's Firm owns (WMT)
CNBC.com with wires.