Redstone says U.S. on brink of bull market

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif (Reuters) - Sumner Redstone, executive chairman of CBS Corp, said on Wednesday that he thinks the U.S. stock market is at the start of a bull market.

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The octogenarian media mogul also said he has no plans to step down anytime soon or give up his controlling positions in CBS or Viacom .

“The one thing I would never do is lose control of CBS and Viacom,” he said, adding, “I have no intention of retiring or dying. I could live and work forever,” he said, attributing his robust health to antioxidants, exercise and a shot of vodka a day.

The U.S. economy shrank by a surprisingly steep 6.1 percent in the first quarter, hit by a record plunge in the business inventories and exports, but various investors also read signs of recovery in the report.

“I think we’re in the beginning of a bull market. When a bull market begins, nine months later the economy turns around,” said the media mogul at the Milken Institute, who said he felt like he had the vital statistics of 20 year old.

“It was always tough, but today we are in the throes of something we have never seen in our history. It’s clear in recent times the market is looking for a bottom.”

“The news was extremely bad on the GDP and the market went up. In a bull market, the market ignores bad news. Today, we ignored extremely bad news,” Redstone said in a Q&A session with CNN’s Larry King.

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Redstone’s National Amusements is the holding company for his controlling stakes in CBS and Viacom Inc.

He would not answer specific questions about CBS because the company is due to report earnings on Thursday, but waved off fears that CBS’s popular “CSI” franchise would see a drop in ratings once General Electric Co’s NBC puts popular talk show host Jay Leno in the same prime-time slot.

Redstone also swore off investment in the struggling newspaper industry, which has been pummeled by closures, layoffs and losses.

“The newspaper is dying. I’m not sure there will be newspapers and its one business I’d never be in,” he said, taking a swipe at rival mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp bought the Wall Street Journal.

“Murdoch paid too much for the Wall Street Journal even when he didn’t have any competition,” he said.

“The reason we have not gone to newspapers is because its a slow growth industry and I think they are dying. I’m not sure there will be newspapers in 10 years. I read newspapers every day. I even read Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal.”

Editing by Steve Orlofsky