Billionaire investor David Tepper said he is cautiously buying some stocks, particularly in the tech sector, as the broader market tumbles amid the coronavirus outbreak. However, he noted the relentless selling may have further to go.
“I’m nibbling right now, for what it’s worth,” Tepper, founder of Appaloosa Management, told CNBC’s Scott Wapner on “Halftime Report.” Tepper noted he is adding to his positions in tech giants such as Amazon, Google parent Alphabet and Alibaba as well as chipmaker Micron Technology. Tepper also said he’s buying some health-care stocks. “Things look really interesting for the long term.”
To be sure, Tepper added that the broader market could fall another 10% to 15% as investors grapple with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic blow.
“If you’re levered, I wouldn’t be levered,” Tepper said. “The market could go down more. On the other hand, we could be near a bottom once they [Congress] get this package done.”
Tepper’s comments come as Wall Street awaited a fiscal stimulus plan from U.S. lawmakers. A bill aimed at stimulating the U.S. economy amid the outbreak failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate on Sunday. However, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday that an agreement was close.
The major averages trimmed some of Monday’s declines after Schumer’s comments. Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 were off more than 3%. Both averages were also more than 30% below record highs set just last month.
More than 350,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S. alone, more than 35,000 people have been infected while over 59,000 cases have been confirmed in Italy.
Tepper said that — for stocks to reach a bottom — he needs to see the number of new cases in Italy “peaking or flattening” in the next few days. He also said “it would be interesting” if cases in New York City peaked in the next few weeks.
“I’d like to see the ventilators rolling out of the assembly lines, I’d like to see the masks being given … You have to have a plan,” he said. Tepper added. “The key is to get out of this lockdown and into a distancing mode.”
Tepper was among the first major investors to raise concern over the coronavirus and its impact on the market. On Feb. 3, he told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that the virus could be a “game changer.”
Tepper’s hedge fund, Appaloosa Management, has more than $10 billion in assets under management.
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