Longtime stock market bear David Tice is easing up on the growls.
The president of Tice Capital, known for having run the Prudent Bear Fund. is closely associated with his ursine views. In fact, his own website declares that he "has taken the role of a Cassandra to warn investors about the dangers of investing near the end of a secular bull market."
But in a Friday interview on CNBC's "Trading Nation," Tice took a more nuanced stance, even going so far as to caution investors about the potential perils of betting against stocks.
"I'm warning people that I would not be short today," Tice said. Right now, stocks are "dangerous," but the rally "could go on for a while."
Indeed, Tice does raise some familiar concerns about equities. He notes that valuations are at historically elevated levels and that stocks appear to have broadly benefited from global central banks' zero, or even subzero, interest rate policies.
On the other hand, he acknowledges near-term fundamentals look decent, with earnings on the rise and an economic backdrop that looks decent. And even more important, from Tice's perspective, is that "stock market participation is very low," so there is plenty of fresh money that could flow into U.S. equities.
"Most bear markets begin at a level of extreme froth," which does not describe the current environment, he said. "Therefore it's possible — as much as I hate to say it — this market could go a little bit higher," perhaps topping out in nine to 15 months, according to Tice.
Still, since he believes that equity prices are not adequately supported by fundamentals, Tice advises investors to "hedge" by owning gold or gold stocks.
To be sure, Tice's market calls have not always proved prescient. He has repeatedly called for a stock market crash and gold spike, predicting in 2012 that the S&P 500 was heading to 1,000 while gold would hit $2,500. Instead it was gold that crashed while stocks rose to record highs, and on Monday, the S&P was at 2,460 while gold was at $1,235.