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July 11, 2020, 1:46 p.m. EDT

The coronavirus has given investors a ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’ says hedge-fund billionaire

‘The question is how long will it take to get back to normal?’

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By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch


iStockphoto
Money to be made?

‘I know you’re not supposed to say this, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You’re not going to see this again: Where you’ve actually got an economy that’s fine, and you’ve got a Fed pumping trillions of dollars in.’

That’s Marc Lasry, hedge-fund manager and billionaire co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, explaining his stance on the investment landscape in a chat Wednesday on Yahoo Finance .

While stocks should also fare well in the scenario he described, Lasry said it’s debt investors like himself who are poised to do “extremely well” making loans to companies that falter.

His $14 billion Avenue Capital firm has capitalized on such struggling brands as Hertz /zigman2/quotes/200655672/composite HTZ +2.86% , Macy’s /zigman2/quotes/201854387/composite M +0.08% and J.C. Penney /zigman2/quotes/207971682/delayed DE:JCP -3.85% .

“You’ve got a lot of companies that are in trouble,” Lasry explained, comparing what we’re seeing in the market now to what happened back during the Great Recession. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime, but it happened 10 years ago, also,” he added with a chuckle.

Bankruptcies represent good opportunities to buy from noneconomic sellers or people who need to sell, Lasry told Barron’s in an interview last month. That’s where Avenue Capital comes in.

“If things turn out, I will do exceptionally well. If a company has to liquidate that’s OK, because I’ll make money on the liquidation,” he said at the time.

Lasry also suggested the economy is better positioned to weather the storm brought on by the coronavirus than it was in the face of the collapse in 2008.

“Today we all know something,” he said. “We will be fine in two years. People will be back out, there will be a vaccine. The question is: How long will it take to get back to normal?”

Meanwhile, the stock market continues to hold up nicely in the face of all the uncertainty. At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.37% , Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.18% and S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.17% were all trading higher in Wednesday’s session.

/zigman2/quotes/200655672/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 1.44
+0.04 +2.86%
Volume: 10.32M
Aug. 4, 2020 1:55p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$199.21 million
Rev. per Employee
$250,105
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201854387/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 6.11
+0.0050 +0.08%
Volume: 11.91M
Aug. 4, 2020 1:55p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
$1.89 billion
Rev. per Employee
$197,992
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/207971682/delayed
DE : Germany: Frankfurt
0.25
-0.0099 -3.85%
Volume: 0.00
Aug. 4, 2020 4:45p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
N/A
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime
US : Dow Jones Global
26,762.87
+98.47 +0.37%
Volume: 217.77M
Aug. 4, 2020 1:55p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
10,922.14
+19.34 +0.18%
Volume: 2.50M
Aug. 4, 2020 1:55p
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime
US : S&P US
3,300.11
+5.50 +0.17%
Volume: 1.44B
Aug. 4, 2020 1:55p
loading...

Shawn Langlois is an editor and writer for MarketWatch in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @slangwise.

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