Leon Cooperman calls for a recession next year, expects S&P to drop 40% from January’s all-time high

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Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman said Tuesday either surging oil prices or the Federal Reserve’s aggressive tightening will tip the U.S. economy into a recession next year, and that could mean a 40% drop for the S & P 500 from peak to trough. “I think we are going to have a recession and profit is going to drop. In a typical recession, profit drops 20%,” Cooperman said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “I think the price of oil or the Fed will push us into a recession some time next year. I think there’s too much liquidity in the system to experience a recession this year.” The chairman and CEO of the Omega Family Office said he remains a long-term bear because of the “very inappropriate” fiscal and monetary policies. He said he believes the unprecedented stimulus has pulled demand forward and created an artificial situation in the economy. The veteran investor expects low returns could be the norm for the foreseeable future as the central bank continues to fight surging prices. “I’m more invested than I want to be, so I’ve been a seller on strength and not a buyer on weakness. My basic viewpoint is that the 4,800 of the S & P is likely to be a high for quite some time. I think we are going to a long period of low returns as we try to right this ship,” Cooperman said. The S & P 500 dropped nearly 4% Monday to hit a new low for the year at 3,749.63. The benchmark is now off about 21% from its record, back in bear market territory after trading there briefly on an intraday basis about three weeks ago. “If I’m right that we wind up in a recession, yes, but it won’t happen this year,” Cooperman said when asked if the S & P 500 will drop 40% if a recession arrives. “I think the low this year is probably not materially below where we are. … I think being conservative, being cautious is the right approach. … I think the bottom is not in yet.”

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