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Tepper: Trump’s China Tariffs Could Trigger A 20% Pullback In US Stocks

David Tepper was probably riding high after his Carolina Panthers bested the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday’s NFL season opener until Thursday afternoon, when he was forced to reckon with the fact that he’s been underweight US equities since he predicted back in April that the “highs are in.”

Of course, Tepper isn’t the only hedgie who dialed back his exposure after February’s volocaust whiplashed many funds and forced them to adopt a defensive posture as they waited for the other shoe to drop. And he deserves at least some credit for readily admitting during Thursday afternoon’s interview with CNBC’s Scott Wapner that he’s only been “about 25% exposed” to US equities – which, in retrospect, is about 75% short of the ideal allocation.

I probably don’t have enough exposure I’ve taken down my exposure. So I’m still long. But you know, not – I would in percentage terms of s&p-type exposure, might be 25% or something of that. And that’s been wrong, because the market has been very hot and the problem for people like me is I’ve had that express with long individual stocks and short you know, futures of some sort or the market in some fashion. And quite frankly our stocks have not done that well this quarter. Which you probably know, you’re going to ask me next or something like that, right

All things considered, assuming the market was fairly valued, a reasonable investor might expect to reap returns of up to 8% over the next year. But Tepper feels like some caution is warranted, which is why he still has cash he can put to work. Because anybody who has taken the president at his word would probably agree that the market has been too naive in pricing in the possibility that Trump’s trade conflict with China will come to an amicable resolution. 

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