WHEN: Today, Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Following are excerpts of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Omega Advisors CEO Leon Cooperman and CNBC's Scott Wapner on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report" (M-F 12PM-1PM) today, Wednesday, February 7th. Following are links to video from the interview on CNBC.com: https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/02/07/leon-cooperman-sp-is-reasonably-fully-valued.html?play=1, https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/02/07/leon-cooperman-on-crazy-securities-destroying-worlds-best-market.html?play=1, & https://www.cnbc.com/video/2018/02/07/leon-cooperman-on-trump-i-like-his-economic-ideas.html?play=1.
All references must be sourced to CNBC.
Cooperman on fundamentals:
I THINK THE FUNDAMENTAL ARE INTACT. LOOK, I THINK THE S&P IS A FAIRLY PRICE INDEX. I DON'T LOOK FOR THE S&P TO GO UP A WHOLE BUNCH. AS I SAID, I CAME INTO THE YEAR LOOKING FOR MAYBE WORST CASE, DOWN 15, BEST CASE, UP TEN. I WOULD RAISE, I WOULD LOWER THE AMOUNT OF DOWNSIDE RISK. I THINK WITH THE ECONOMY DOING BETTER THAN I THOUGHT, EARNINGS DOING BETTER, I DON'T THINK THE MARKET HAS 15% RISK.
Cooperman on crazy instruments:
I'D IMPLORE, HOWEVER, THE REGULATORS IN THE FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY TO DEAL WITH THE CRAZY INSTRUMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED THAT ARE DESTROYING THE BEST CAPITAL MARKET IN THE WORLD. IN FACT, I READ LAST NIGHT ON ONE OF THE SERVICES THAT THE INVENTOR – AN INVENTER OF VIX WAS QUOTING SAYING HE DOESN'T KNOW WHY THESE PRODUCTS EXIST. IT'S JUST ABSOLUTELY CRAZY TO SIT THERE AND SEE THE S&P TRADE DOWN 100 POINTS IN THE MATTER OF A HALF HOUR. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ECONOMICS. THE REGULATORS HAVE TO PUT PROPER LEVERAGING INTO THE SYSTEM TO PROTECT THE INVESTOR.
Cooperman on marketplace "episodes":
THERE HAVE BEEN ENOUGH OF THESE EPISODE OF MINI MELTDOWNS THAT THE REGULATORS CAN SEE THAT THE TECHNOLOGY IS GETTING AHEAD OF THE MARKETPLACE. THE ABILITY TO DEAL WITH THIS TECHNOLOGY. SO I THINK WHAT WE HAVE TO HAVE MORE MARGIN REQUIREMENTS, LESS LEVERAGE ALLOWED. ET CETERA, ET CETERA. AND I SAY THAT BOTH UP AND DOWN. I NEVER IMAGINED COMING INTO 2018 THAT THE MARKET WOULD BE UP 8% IN THE FIRST 26 DAYS OF THE MONTH.
Cooperman on the Fed:
I WOULD GET NERVOUS AND WORRIED IF I SAW AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS INCREASING AT SAY 3.5% AND THE CORE CPI RUNNING IN EXCESS OF 2.5%. THOSE ARE PROBABLY A YEAR AWAY. SECONDLY, IF THE FED TURNED HOSTILE, THE FED IS THE FURTHEST THING FROM HOSTILE, I THINK THEY'VE BEEN TOO EASY FOR TOO LONG AND THEY'RE VERY – GOING TO BE VERY RELUCTANT TO RAISE RATES. THIRD AND MOST IMPORTANTLY IS MOSTLY BEAR MARKETS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THE STOCK MARKET SMELLING OUT A RECESSION. AND IF ANYTHING, THE ECONOMIC DATA IS GETTING STRONGER AROUND THE WORLD, SO RECESSION DOESN'T SEEM TO BE A DECENT BET.
Cooperman on inflation:
INFLATION IS A PLUS FOR COMMON STOCKS AS LONG AS THE CENTRAL BANK IS NOT ACTING TO CURB INFLATION. RIGHT NOW, THE CENTRAL BLANK IS NOT ACTING TO CURB INFLATION. AND IF YOU LOOK AT INTEREST RATES VERSUS STOCK PRICES, THE STOCK MARKET IS CHEAPER THAN THE BOND MARKET. THE BUBBLE IS THE BOND MARKET.
Cooperman on interest rates:
I THINK GLOBALLY, INTEREST RATES AROUND THE WORLD ARE GOING TO GO UP, AND IT WILL ULTIMATELY AFFECT THE STOCK MARKET, BUT I DON'T THINK SIGNIFICANTLY IN 2018. AND WE HAVE A LOT OF STOCKS THAT ARE CHEAPER THAN THE MARKET.
Cooperman on Alphabet:
GOOGLE, ALPHABET, WHATEVER- IS 5% OF OUR PORTFOLIO. WE'VE OWNED IT FOR SEVERAL YEARS. IT SELLS AROUND 22 TIMES WHAT WE THINK THEY'RE GOING TO EARN THIS YEAR, LESS THAN 20 TIMES NEXT YEAR. GROWING 20% WITH A FORTRESS LIKE BALANCE SHEET. AND IT'S A QUESTION OF IF WE HAD ENOUGH. WE HAD ENOUGH. YOU KNOW, AND WE HAVE LIKE I SAID, A 5% POSITION. AND I LIKE TO BE DIVERSIFIED.
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