Billionaire hedge fund titan Leon Cooperman blasted the Federal Reserve’s interest rate cut last week, saying the central bank is “screwing the savers” after the second rate cut in three months.
Cooperman said the Fed shouldn’t be cutting rates while the economy is still strong in the midst of a record-long growth.
“I side with the two Fed governors that were against cutting rates. Rates were already low,” Cooperman said while speaking on during the Delivering Alpha conference, which was hosted by CNBC and Institutional Behavior. “Just think about it this way: You have a 35% to 40% marginal tax rate, you’re getting 2% on your cash if you’re lucky. You keep 60% of the 2%, that’s 1.2%. The inflation rate is running 2%: You have a negative return on savings.”
The Fed approved a second, 0.25% interest rate cut on Sept. 18 while offering few hints that it would lower rates again before the end of the year as many on Wall Street have hoped. Fed officials continued to describe the job market as “strong,” but also noted that American business executives have grown wary of President Donald Trump’s trade tactics and the ongoing trade war with China, which has put a damper on profits.
“The weakness in the economy, in my opinion, is directly attributable to the president’s dialogue on tariffs,” said Cooperman, who founded Omega Advisors in 1991. “What we do with China, I understand makes sense. But threatening Mexico, threatening Canada, threatening Europe makes no sense.
“This has created great uncertainty in the business community. They don’t know where to put the supply lines, they don’t know where to build their plants. So they’re cutting back on” capital expenditures.
Cooperman‘s net worth is about $3.2 billion, according to Forbes, and his company’s main fund has generated 12.4% annualized returns since its inception. The S&P 500, in turn, has generated a 9.5% return over the same period of time.