Hedge fund manager Cooperman optimistic toward stocks -CNBC

NEW YORK Wed Jan 2, 2013 3:38pm EST

NEW YORK Jan 2 (Reuters) - Leon Cooperman, the chief executive officer of hedge fund Omega Advisors, said on Wednesday he is optimistic toward stock markets this year, while bonds are poised for a sell-off.

Cooperman, whose hedge fund had $7 billion in assets as of November, told CNBC television that "equities are in a zone of fair valuation to modest undervaluation," while bonds are in a "bubble."

He cited the slight improvement in the global economy, improving U.S. home prices and the pickup in China's economy, while low-yielding government bonds are a "joke" and high-yield corporate bonds are no longer a bargain given their lower yields.

With regard to stocks, Cooperman said he owns shares in tech companies such as Google, Verifone and Sprint . He also said he owns Freeport-McMoran Copper and Gold and "a lot" of oil and natural gas company SandRidge Energy.

SandRidge has come under scrutiny from hedge fund TPG-Axon Capital, which owns about 6.7 percent of the company. TPG-Axon, along with other larger shareholder Mount Kellett Capital, has been pressing SandRidge to replace its board and chief executive and for an outright sale of the company.

Cooperman said he has become wary of Apple Inc in light of its huge cash hoard exceeding $100 billion, although he still owns shares in the company.

"I think their financial policies are somewhat destructive to valuation, considering all this cash earning nothing," Cooperman said of Apple.

He added, however, that he favors Qualcomm, which supplies chips to Apple for its iPhone 5 smartphone.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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