By Shawn Langlois, MarketWatch
‘Investors are being infantilized by the relentless Federal Reserve activity. It’s as if the Fed considers them foolish children, unable to rationally set the prices of securities so it must intervene. When the market has a tantrum, the benevolent Fed has a soothing yet enabling response.’
That’s Seth Klarman, the billionaire behind hedge-fund giant Baupost Group, trying to explain the current market climate in a letter to investors cited by Bloomberg News Thursday.
“Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe this moment,” he said, adding that investor “psychology is surprisingly ebullient even though business fundamentals are often dreadful.”
Klarman, who said his fund has recently had a strung stretch as a net seller, continued the comparison saying, “As with the 30-year-olds still living in their parents’ basements, we can only wonder whether the markets will ever be expected to make it on their own.”
As of June 30, Baupost kept 31% of its portfolio in cash, Bloomberg News reported, that’s up from 26% in the month prior, due to the fund’s unloading of a portfolio of mortgage-backed securities and one corporate debt holding, as well as net stock sales.
Baupost has been boosted by gains in EBay /zigman2/quotes/204653455/composite EBAY +0.71% , PG&E /zigman2/quotes/202583141/composite PCG -0.77% , Liberty Global /zigman2/quotes/205000522/composite LBTYA -2.31% and Viacom /zigman2/quotes/200340870/composite VIAC +0.10% to name a few mentioned in the letter.
As for Thursday’s trading session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.44% was down almost 300 points, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.42% was also firmly in the red. The Nasdaq Composite /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.11% , however, was moving higher.