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April 1, 2020, 9:42 a.m. EDT

Billionaire investor: There’s no way to know how bad this will get, but it may be time to nibble at bargain prices

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By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch


Bloomberg News/Landov
Howard Marks, co-founder of Oaktree Capital Group

‘There’s no argument for spending all your money now, but there’s also no argument for not spending any of your money now. I would do something moderate, in between.’

In other words, don’t panic in either direction.

That’s the message from Oaktree Capital co-founder Howard Marks, who shared his thoughts on the current market climate in a CNBC interview on Tuesday night.

“I personally think that securities are low enough to buy a little,” said a bearish-leaning Marks. “Somebody said to me, ‘is this the time to buy?’ I say no, ‘this is a time to buy.’”

With the Dow /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +2.17% just putting an exclamation point on its worst quarter since 1987 — down 23% — some investors are calling for a bottom. Marks is not one of those investors.

“I never believe that I know when’s the bottom, but I know things have gotten a lot cheaper and it’s reasonable to do some buying,” he said. “If it goes lower, do more buying.”

What’s Marks been doing during all this? He’s been buying high-yield bonds in the U.S., with yields jumping from 3.5% a couple months ago to around 10%, according to CNBC.

For his part, Marks, like everybody else on Wall Street and the rest of the world, is having a difficult time wrapping his brain around where the coronavirus pandemic goes from here.

“Nobody knows how bad this disease will get, how bad the economic ramifications will be, or whether government programs will save the day,” he told CNBC. “You just can’t have that answer.”

Here’s the full interview:

The second quarter is starting off much like the first, with the Dow, S&P /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.23% and tech-heavy Nasdaq /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.17% firmly lower in early trades.

/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
24,995.11
+529.95 +2.17%
Volume: 426.29M
May 26, 2020 5:20p
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/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
2,991.77
+36.32 +1.23%
Volume: 3.36B
May 26, 2020 5:20p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
9,340.22
+15.63 +0.17%
Volume: 4.13M
May 26, 2020 5:16p
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Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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