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Leon Cooperman Says Market Correction Could Start Very Soon

Leon Cooperman, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Omega Advisors, says a market correction could start “very soon.”

Cooperman, who’s known for his bullish stock picks, said any number of events could prompt markets to fall. “North Korea, a disappointing earnings report, anything,” he said Tuesday at the CNBC Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha Conference in New York. “We can have a 5 to 8 percent correction anytime.”

“We’re getting closer to one,” Cooperman said later Tuesday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Cooperman said the market is “fully valued but not overvalued.” It isn’t pricing in President Donald Trump’s policies because of uncertainty around the administration’s ability to pass major legislation. Earnings in the S&P 500 Index could move higher if the president achieves goals such as tax reform.

The S&P 500 has, for the most part, been on the rise for the past eight years, returning 342 percent since March 9, 2009.

Omega, which managed $3.6 billion as of August, had been plagued with large redemptions since 2015 when Cooperman told investors that regulators had subpoenaed the company for information about trading in certain securities. Earlier this year his firm settled the insider trading case and agreed to pay a $4.9 million fine. It did not admit to any wrongdoing.

Inflows to his firm since have been very slow and “very minor,” Cooperman, 74, said in the Bloomberg interview. About half the assets Omega manages is its “own dough,” he said. “I’m a glorified family office.”

The son of a plumber, Cooperman has long celebrated value investing. He bootstrapped his way from the South Bronx to become one of the deans of the hedge fund industry, founding Omega Advisors in 1991 after a 25-year career at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

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