By Jonathan Chen, Benzinga Staff Writer
Leon Cooperman of Omega Advisors spoke today at the Value Investing Congress. Here are some of his thoughts from today's speech, including some of the stocks he believes have the greatest upside potential.
Mr. Cooperman assumes the U.S. will remain in a slow growth environment, and will not go back into a recession. Cooperman cited Warren Buffett and Jeffrey Immelt of GE (GE), who have said the same thing. However, he noted that one out of every five employees in the country is either unemployed or underemployed. He believes we have to watch for potential unrest to grow into a kind of Arab Spring in the U.S.
Cooperman believes that 2011 is not going to be like 2008. He thinks the next crisis to hit us will be in public finance. Crises do not repeat, he says. The next crisis is often very different from the prior one.
Cooperman thinks that real growth is starting to accelerate, and that third quarter GDP could approach 2.5%. He also does expect sane policies to prevail in Europe, and that Europe will be able to put a fence around the debt problems in Greece.
He mentioned names like Apple (AAPL), Qualcomm (QCOM), KKR Financial (KFN), Transocean (RIG) and E-Trade Financial (ETFC), Sallie Mae (SLM) and Boston Scientific (BSX) as some of his top long ideas. He likes Apple because demand for the iPhone 4S is still incredibly strong.
He mentioned Transocean because of the demand for deep water drilling. He believes that E-Trade is an increasingly solid investment as the company winds down its mortgage portfolio. He notes that Ken Griffin of Citadel Investments is on the board of E-Trade and it has been mentioned as a potential takeover play by one of the other discount brokers.
Finally, Cooperman, formerly of Goldman Sachs, believes that Sallie Mae could be worth $19 per share, and he likes Boston Scientific because the company has 20% free cash flow.