Michael Steinhardt was on CNBC today in a rare interview for the hedge fund guru. Michael Steinhardt rarely does interviews but he is following the example of Stanley Druckenmiller who also made a rare appearance on CNBC this week. In the interview Steinhardt explains why he is bearish now.
Full video and computer generated transcript below:
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stock split and a dividend hike. andrew has another specialguest. hey, becky. thank you. we’re at the wharton economicsummit and we have michael steinhardt with us. the chairman of wisdom tree and legendary investor. my pleasure. we have perma bowl over here on the economy. he told me the stock market is still going to the moon here. where are you? not quite the moon. he should be given credit, because he’s been bullish when relatively few others were. certainly in last three, four orfive months. and the fact that he’s been bullish most of the timeprobably has some justification. markets mostly go up. so he’s worth listening to. what about you? what do you think? well, i have an innate inclination toward bearishness. that’s the way i am. each of our own personality and character composition, and mine is tended toward the bearish side. so i said to jeremy is there a pullback coming for an opportunity for people to jumpin? a lot of investors missed this train ride and think maybe imissed the ride or maybe i need to wait for the train to stoptemporarily. you think it’s going to stop then? i didn’t say that.i’m not sure it’s going to stop. but, i think that one must marvel at where the stock market is in relation to the rest of our world, in relation to the economics, in relation to the politics. it’s not a glorious happy time. if you step back and you think about how people were thinking just before the election, and how they were thinking about obama, i mean, we’ve just walked through the raindrops. at least in terms of the stock market, because, you know, fiscal cliff, and debt ceiling, and all sorts of other issues which were seemingly plaguing the market, done. how much are you worried, therefore, about the fed, and the fed pulling the bunch ball away? we had stan druckenmiller onearlier this week. that’s something he worries about, and also worries about just the amount of debt we put on ourselves. he should. but, the issue is to time that, to time when that’s going to be aproblem. my sense is that bernanke is not so comfoable with things that he’s going pull the punch bowl in the immediate future. so what are you doing with your money? i keep it under the mattress, which is where i’ve had it for awhile. is that true?no. no, really, what are you doing? i have a number of stocks,which are mostly very specialized, itsy bitsy things that i have for all sorts of personal, i hope, financial reasons. but — can you name some itsy bitsy things? they really are itsy bitsy. i own –i’m — or was chairman of a company called genie energy. okay.so have you ever heard of it? i apologize. so immediately forget the name. now one of the other things it’s interesting is you’re the chairman of wisdomtree and i was talking to jeremy earlier about passivefunds, etfs versus active and he said he’s neverbeen he’s not in anything active at all. he has no active management of any sort. you’re the chairman of wisdomtree but you believe in active management. historically that’s what iwas. i was an active manager. i prided myself on having anapproach that was truly individual. that didn’t relate to very muchelse or other managers, or it was, you know, the ultimate act of management. right. joe kernen’s got a question for you.because we haven’t seen michael in awhile. and we go way back to some of our conferences we used to do, michael. i remember one where youere really worried about, it was either sars or one of those things, and you were also worried about the bond market, i remember, under bush. and i was thinking, wow, he was really bearish back then. and then i remember, wow, you were right about the financial crisis did come, and now it’s gone, and now we’ve doubled back to where we were.if jeremy is a perma bull, would you say you’ve been kind of aperma bear for 10, 12 years but you were certainly right inobviously 2008 and 2009, but then did you underestimate howquickly we’d come back from that? well, let me comment first on the perma stuff. i managed money for 29 years. and my average exposure in my funds for those 29 years was between 35% and 35% net long. that’s probably as bearish as anybody was in that period. but it’s also, you get stars in heaven for certain things, and i think having lower risk is a virtue. so, so, i’m not sure i’m a perma bear. but i’m not — but you’re not that long right now. no, i’m not. michael’s being — michael’s being very, very — in the studio. very modest. he’s one of the great short sellers of all time. i can tell you that personally. great return but then sort of — did seem out of — you know, for a while, that wasn’t the right approach. to make his returns that michael made being only 35% long tells you that his shorts werenothing short of spectacular, right? when did you become lessactive, michael? you were less active probably — you got out of that game 15 years ago, didn’t you? or how long ago? i stopped managing other people’s money in 1995. okay, even longer.and i had — yeah, i had an avowed interest. i used these words, in doing something ennobling, virtuous, all that sort of stuff andthat’s what i’ve tried to do you know, if you’ve been in the stock market all your life, you can’t exactly forget it. right. so i haven’t and i’m still peripherally involved but not like i was. michael, before i let you go, last time you were on squawk, you had some critical comments about warren buffett and his charitiable approach to things. this was probably two years ago. we just had him on earlier this week, he has been giving a lot more money away. well, i guess — i was curious if you had a different — if you’ve updated that view at all. i would say i have notupdated that view. i mean, if you’ve reached the ripe old age of 80-something, maybe that’s time to start giving away some of your money and this business that a lot of