The coronavirus continues to be a battleground for stock market bulls and bears. This comes with the bulls pointing to an opportunity and an economy that is slowly recovering. It also comes with the Federal Reserve providing trillions of dollars in stimulus.
One of those bulls in Marc Lasry. He runs a $14-billion Avenue Capital investment firm and co-owns the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team.
He views the coronavirus pandemic as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to make money.
“I know you’re not supposed to say this, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’re not going to see this again: Where you’ve actually got an economy that’s fine, and you’ve got a Fed pumping trillions of dollars in.”
Lasry’s firm specializes in providing funding to distressed businesses. The number of bankruptcies piling up means more business for him. Just today, men’s clothier Brooks Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection.
“You’ve got a lot of companies that are in trouble,” Lasry said, adding that today’s business environment is very similar to what he saw during the Great Recession. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime, but it happened 10 years ago, also.”
Is the US Better Prepared?
He adds that while the outlook for many forcibly closed businesses as part of the economic shutdown doesn’t look promising, the country as a whole has become better prepared to weather the storm compared to that of the Great Recession.
“Today we all know something,” he said. “We will be fine in two years. People will be back out, there will be a vaccine. The question is: How long will it take to get back to normal?”
If you ask Savita Subramanian, she says she’s not a bear, but does expect the stock market to end the year almost 10% lower than it is today.
Subramanian, the head of equity research at Bank of America, says the economy is facing a litany of headwinds.
“I wouldn’t paint myself as a bear but the risks between here and year end are completely to the downside,” Subramanian said. “We’ve had a reopening frenzy and now we’re seeing payback.”
The Negative Outlook
Unlike Lasry, Subramanian felt “really worried” that the fiscal and monetary stimulus used to boost the economy has pulled forward future growth.
She also points to a historically-expensive stock market. Three things had driven the gains of that market, and all of them might come to a grinding halt soon: globalization, falling interest rates, and tax cuts.
Subramanian says a Democratic victory in November will likely have the effect of reversing those market-friendly policies.
Stocks continue to climb higher despite surges in new coronavirus cases. With this, Subramanian said she doesn’t think the markets are assuming everything will be okay. She notes that “work from home” stocks are still doing very well. Also, she mentions that if investors thought we would be returning to offices and jobs anytime soon, those stocks should suffer.
She advises being overweight consumer staples, industrials, technology, and financial stocks.