David Tepper still loves stocks: ‘You’re nowhere near an overheated market’

Famed hedge fund honcho David Tepper is rejecting arguments that stocks are overvalued and believes there are still plenty of opportunities in the market.

The head of Appaloosa Management is a long-time bull and said the latest leg up for the market has not changed his position.

“Any comparison to past overheated markets are ridiculous,” he told CNBC’s Scott Wapner in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Look at where multiples and rates were in 1999. I’m not saying stocks are screaming cheap, but you’re nowhere near an overheated market.”

Tepper’s comments come the same day as the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey shows belief that the market is overvalued at historic highs. The S&P 500 currently trades around 17.4 times expected earnings over the next 12 months, well ahead of the 15.4 average over the past five years and the 10-year average of 14, according to FactSet.

While the market looks expensive by that conventional measure, Tepper believes the state of the global economy supports a higher multiple.

“Because world growth will continue to be good, earnings will be better and stocks are relatively cheap to interest rates,” he said.

Rising rates would be considered a danger, but he said that increase would have to be substantial before denting the market.

David Tepper

David Orrell | CNBC
David Tepper

The Federal Reserve, which uses its benchmark funds level to control rates in the U.S., has been hiking on a regular basis but is expected to move slowly. Traders in the funds market give another rate hike this year about a coin-flip’s chance.

It was the Fed’s accommodative stance that generated what’s known in the market as the “Tepper Rally,” for which the hedge fund billionaire is most famous. During a CNBC interview on Sept. 24, 2010, Tepper predicted that either the market would rally on strong fundamentals or the central bank would inject more liquidity into the financial system to boost equities.

Shortly after, the Fed announced the second round of its quantitative easing program, giving new life to stocks that at the time had still been shaking off the dust from the financial crisis.

More recently, Tepper has been a big buyer of tech titans including Alphabet, Alibaba and Facebook — all stocks in which he increased his position over the past quarter, according to the most recent Appaloosa regulatory filing.

“The multiples are still low,” he said. “They just look cheaper than any other part of the market even though they moved.”

In addition to those stocks, he also likes Micron and Western Digital, believing that the “market got too negative” on the companies.

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