Cooperman bought more United stock in bet coronavirus will end by June

Leon Cooperman

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman told CNBC on Wednesday he’s using the market scare to buy more equity in companies like United Airlines as part of a broader bet that the coronavirus will have disappeared by June.

Speaking on “Squawk Box,” Cooperman said he’s been a net buyer in the last few days and seeing “a lot of value in the market” as fears about the coronavirus picked up.

Cooperman, chairman and CEO of Omega Family Office and a longtime United stakeholder, said he’s added to that position as major market indexes have plunged this week.

“I’m doing a little bit every day,” Cooperman said. “Look at United Airlines: They came out with their commentary, the stock is trading at six times what they expect to earn this year. They took out guidance because they can’t give you guidance until they know what happens with the virus.”

United Airlines shares were down fractionally in early trading Wednesday.

Cooperman’s remarks came on the heels of one of the worst two-day slides for the U.S. equity market in recent years. Investors’ mounting concerns over the impact the coronavirus sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 1,900 points, more than 6.5%, over Monday and Tuesday. The S&P 500 is down 6.3% over the two days.

Traders have said concerns that the disease could hamper global manufacturing and consumption spurred the plunge in equity prices from all-time highs last week. But Cooperman said if you believe the virus will be “history” by June, there’s little reason not to continue snapping up stocks at a discount to the loftier multiples seen just a few days ago.

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