Julian Robertson, billionaire investor and founder of $28 million hedge fund Tiger Management, said Tuesday that stock market valuations were high by historical standards and that the Federal Reserve’s policies were to blame for an emerging bubble.
“I think we need interest rates to appreciate, to go up, because I think we are creating a bubble,” the 85-year-old said at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference in New York.
“The market, as a whole, is quite high on a historic basis,” Robertson added. “And I think that’s due to the fact that interest rates are so low that there’s no real competition for the money other than art and real estate.”
The Federal Reserve has kept its fed funds rate extremely low since the onset of the Great Recession, lifting it four times since December 2015 to a range of 1.00% to 1.25% in June. This decade-long period of historically low rates has led to a bubble, according to Robertson.
“It’s the Federal Reserve’s fault, and the Federal Reserves all over the world,” he told CNBC’s Kelly Evans. “I mean, in Germany, in order to buy a bond, until recently, you actually had to pay interest, and that’s certainly going to discourage a lot of people from doing so.”
Robertson developed a reputation on Wall Street for predicting the 1990s tech bubble, when he skirted significant losses by avoiding so-called fly-by-night stocks. Today, Tiger’s largest holdings include biotech company Celgene, Facebook, and Alibaba, according to Bloomberg.
“When rates do start to go up and the bonds become more attractive to investors, it will affect the margins,” he said.