By Matthew Goldstein
Top hedge fund managers are great at enriching themselves through savvy trades that presumably come from a keen insight into the markets and economic trends. But all too often these titans of Wall Street come up small when asked for their opinions on the pressing economic questions of the day.
That’s what happened when three Reuters reporters recently asked 30 of the top U.S. hedge fund managers to respond to a quick email survey about the political morass in Washington and the potential for a double dip recession. Less than a handful of managers offered any thoughts on the subject. The overwhelming majority either didn’t respond, or had a representative reply that the manager was either too busy to comment, or didn’t want to participate.
I’m not going to embarrass any one by calling them out for not responding but it’s hard to fathom how some of the wealthiest people on the planet couldn’t find the time to have someone on their staff take 5 to 10 minutes out to respond to a three question survey. (We were trying to make it real easy to get some responses).
One brave manager who did respond to the survey was Leon Cooperman, the founder of Omega Advisors, and one of the elder statesman of the now $2 trillion industry. The veteran trader’s top economic analyst told us on Monday he did not see the U.S. “slipping into recession in the next 12 months.” But he thought the recovery would be “middling,” something that was clearly reflected in the most recent GDP numbers.
Cooperman’s point man also was optimistic the politicians in DC would reach a deal to raise the nation’s debt limit before the Aug. 2 default deadline. But he didn’t forsee any meaningful “deficit/debt issues” until after next year’s presidential election.