Wednesday, October 07, 2009

WealthTrack on Whitney Tilson and David Winters

CONSUELO MACK: Yes, we do. Whitney Tilson, you're more domestically oriented but you're not a buyer per se.

WHITNEY TILSON: We're doing more selling than buying. During this rally we've been trimming a lot of our longs in our hedge fund, adding to some of our shorts. And six months ago we were playing offense, today we're playing defense. The reason is twofold. One is valuations- if you look at the S&P 500, everyone uses different estimates, but the latest ones I saw, trading 19 times next year's earnings and 17 times the subsequent year’s earnings. And those earnings are pretty optimistic earnings estimates; analysts are assuming that corporate earnings return to peak levels only two years from now. And so even at those peak levels, it's trading at a pretty rich multiple, and secondly, we're very concerned that we're in for a long grinding recession. Armageddon is off the table I think, that's the good news. But the housing crisis, which has been really driving this recession, we think has many more years of abnormally high losses that's going to keep the financial system weak and keep our economy not necessarily on life support, but certainly far from robust.

CONSUELO MACK: But longer term, David, if you're, again, skating where the puck is and you're looking at the China market for instance, the China consumer, one of the things that Michael has been reporting on and other people as well is the reflation that's occurred in China, the incredible stimulus that's occurred, which is supposed to be very inflationary- are you concerned about a bubble developing in China? Is that something that’s on your radar screen?

DAVID WINTERS: Absolutely. I don't know what's going to happen, or really anybody else does. But I think the inflation issue is something that almost no one is talking about, and you have it right on the nose. That's why we like companies like Nestle, because kids of all ages have always liked chocolate bars. When I was a kid, a chocolate bar was ten cents. It’s a buck. In my lifetime chocolate bars have gone up ten times and you get paid 3.5% to wait and they've got all these other assets, so they buyback stock. So we look for companies that can grow all over the world. You can diversify your currency streams and you really don't have a lot of risk. There's this whole idea of market risk. But chocolate bars are not a risky place.

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