WHEN: Today, Wednesday, August 31st
WHERE: CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report"
Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Omega Advisors Chairman Leon Cooperman on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report" (M-F, 12PM-1PM ET) today, Wednesday, August 31st. Following are links to the video on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000547437, http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000547436, http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000547424 and http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000547430.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
COOPERMAN ON APPLE
My concern is that Apple's best days might be behind it because there's nothing to replace the iPhone and so it's a company that generates lots of cash but may be a smaller company in three of four years. So we've put our money elsewhere say Google, or Facebook, which we think has more visible growth.
COOPERMAN ON GOOGLE
It's not expensive. We have a multiple on next year's earnings. I think something around 18 times next year's. Eighteen and a half times earnings. So it's a premium to the market which is 17 times. But fortress-like balance sheet. It's growing 20 percent a year. Very creative, innovative management. It doesn't take any special intellect to be long Google.
COOPERMAN ON THE MARKET BEING FULLY VALUED
17 times my estimate which is 127 next year is 2159. The S&P is around 2165. Market is fairly but fully valued. I would not expect the market to do that much on the upside. We have to accept the reality that if interest rates belong where they are, that's a slow growth world and returns on equity are going to be lower than they have been historically. And I accept that fact.
COOPERMAN ON THE FED BEING AFRAID TO MOVE
The market's not discounting the 37 percent Fed funds rate. The market knows rates are going higher. The question is to slope or to rise. If it's a gradual slope, and I think it will be very gradual – the Fed's afraid to move. I would have thought they should have moved two years ago. I mean we get employment going up 200,000 people a month. We have automobile sales running near 17 million. It's clear that they're concerned about the dollar strength and they've been going very slow because our trading partners are keeping rates very low. But I think interest rates are artificially low and the market understands that.
COOPERMAN ON FIRST DATA
Nine times our estimate in a seventeen-multiple market. First Data. Everybody's hung up on their balance sheet. The company's got 19 billion dollars of debt. Virtually no maturing debt in the next five years. They generate a billion dollars a year free cash flow. It looks to us to be extremely cheap. It's maybe 8 or 9 multiple points lower than its competition of companies that do similar things. Credit card processor. Relatively non-cyclical business. Largest investment ever made in the history of KKR.
COOPERMAN ON NETFLIX
I think ultimately Netflix is going to work, but I think somebody buys the company at a nice premium…Netflix is an acquisition candidate for somebody. But again another idea came in, I didn't want to raise my exposure so I sold, and went to something else.
COOPERMAN ON OIL
In my view, if we're right that the economy grows two, two and a half percent, the price of oil will be higher in 12 or 18 months…I think you get up to 60 plus dollars a barrel in a year. That would be my call. Trouble is because of the market as a whole is elevated, oil stocks as a group are discounting probably 65-dollar oil. So we're going slow.
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