Temasek gets fearful when it’s time to be greedy

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A man passes a logo of state investor Temasek Holdings at their office in Singapore July 8, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

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HONG KONG, July 13 (Reuters Breakingviews) - It’s hard to be gung-ho when markets are a mess, but that’s supposed to be the benefit of investing for the long term. Singapore’s Temasek, however, indicated on Tuesday it would be easing back on plans to deploy its $286 billion pool of state capital read more . It noted that bear markets only tend to bottom after U.S. interest rates have clearly peaked.

Such caution defies Warren Buffett’s advice to be fearful when others are greedy, and vice versa. In practicing what he preaches, his Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) ended a six-year deal drought in March by agreeing to buy insurer Alleghany (Y.N) read more for $12 billion. In total, the $612 billion conglomerate invested $51 billion in U.S. stocks in the first quarter after years of bemoaning soaring valuations.

Temasek has not been idle. As a local corporate backstop, it supported Covid-stricken Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) and is overseeing the $6 billion merger read more of oil rig builder Sembcorp Marine (SCMN.SI) and a Keppel-owned (KPLM.SI) rival. Beyond the opportunities on its doorstep, though, there will be plenty of others as investors run scared. To leave them to the Oracle of Omaha and his acolytes is a missed opportunity. (By Jennifer Hughes)

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(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are their own.)

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Editing by Jeffrey Goldfarb and Thomas Shum

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