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S&P 500 closes best August since 1986 – Leon Cooperman and three others on what to watch

Markets expected to close out best August in more than 30 years—Four pros on what's next
Markets expected to close out best August in more than 30 years—Four pros on what's next

The S&P 500 closed out its best August since 1986 on Monday.

Four experts discuss whether that strength can carry over into September.

David Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlyle Group, sees a pause ahead.

"I'm still a little nervous. Obviously the Fed's action or that statement recently last week made it clear that the Fed is going to be very accommodative for a while and that might be fueling the markets for a while. And right now, I think ... neither the Democratic Party or the Republican Party is saying things that are going to scare the market, so I think the market has somewhere more to go. But, on the other hand, I don't think it can keep going up forever at this pace. I think there will be a pause at some point."

Leon Cooperman, chairman of Omega Family Office, warns of market euphoria.

"I see signs of euphoria creeping into the market. The IPO and SPAC market is one. Craziness in many of the stocks the Robinhood crowd has latched onto. You see Kodak going from $1.50 to $60 in a very short period of time. The great Carl Icahn is no dummy. He made a mistake — as we all make mistakes — in Hertz. Sells out of his position at 72 cents a share, three weeks later it's trading at $5."

Sarat Sethi, managing partner of Douglas C. Lane Associates, sees the laggards playing catch-up.

"I think what you're going to see is some potential rebalancing over the next couple of months. The tech stocks have done really well, we own them, but I think as a portfolio manager you really have to look and see where are the opportunities for the next two to three years. And when you've got stocks trading at 40-50 times earnings and you look at some of the other sectors that have really lagged — for example, financials, and even some of the cyclicals and industrials — they just haven't performed like we've been expecting them to given where we think the economy is going to go."

Joseph Amato, president of Neuberger Berman Group, says the election should bring some clarity.  

"It's certainly been a monstrous August. I mean, the markets were up 70+ percent and you had the sense that viruses were peaking, you had better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, although expectations were abysmally low but they did exceed that meaningfully ... and importantly last week, you saw from the Fed continuation and really an expansion of the dovish policies that are helping the markets over the last couple of months ... Over the next couple of months, my expectation is that you're going to see a trading range within the market because you've got important policy issues to be resolved of course in November and because the markets moved so far so quickly, I think it's a time to sort of see it really tread water for a bit until you get greater clarity beyond that."