If there's a surprise to the market, it'll be to the upside: Activist investor Cliff Robbins

  • While sometimes people have to look harder to find value in the market, Cliff Robbins told CNBC he's not having any trouble finding new ideas.
  • The economy is healing and we'll probably get tax reform and repatriation, he said.
  • He recommends Investors Bancorp.

While sometimes people have to look harder to find value in the market, activist investor Cliff Robbins told CNBC on Monday he's not having any trouble finding new ideas.

"All the companies we're investing in, I am very confident will be making more money in two or three years than they're making today. They're growing, they're good companies and we have special ideas for them as their lead stockholders to unlock value," the CEO of Blue Harbour Group said in an interview with "Closing Bell" from the sidelines of the Sohn Investment Conference in New York.

"Having said that, I also feel that if there is a surprise to the market it will be to the upside. I think that the economy is healing and I think the market's pricing in some good things but I think we'll get some good things."

That includes tax reform and repatriation, which will be 'very big" for the market, he said.

More from the Sohn Conference:
Jeff Gundlach makes bets against U.S. stocks, for emerging markets
IBM's Watson 'is a joke,' says Social Capital CEO Palihapitiya
Bill Ackman recommends Howard Hughes Corp. at Sohn

Earlier on Monday, Robbins recommended shares of Investors Bancorp at the conference. The bank jumped following his comments, ultimately closing 2 percent higher.

The stock is trading at a significant discount to its intrinsic value and is sitting on about $1 billion in excess capital, he told CNBC.

"There's a lot of scope to deploy that capital through acquisitions, through buybacks, through dividends, through growing the core organic bank. If they can convert that excess capital to core capital then this stock's going up significantly," he said.

Robbins also likes WebMD because it is at the convergence of two big megatrends — digital commerce, along with health and wellness.

"That's a very unique business that has a lot of upside, as well."

Disclosures: InvestorsBancorp and WebMD are core positions for Blue Harbour Group.


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