Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Steve Leuthold turn bull - one less bear in the market

May 20 (Bloomberg) -- Steve Leuthold, who turned bullish this year after profiting from the equity market rout in 2008, said he may invest almost 70 percent of some funds in stocks as the economy stabilizes.

He’s betting that large investment firms, which have cut equity holdings, will put more of their assets in U.S. stocks in an effort to avoid underperforming the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index as the market continues to rally. Leuthold, who spoke in a Bloomberg Television interview, also said he’s buying gold, silver and Asian stocks on speculation the dollar will weaken.

Leuthold’s Grizzly Short Fund returned 74 percent last year as the S&P 500 posted the steepest annual retreat since 1937. He turned bullish in March, five days before the index sank to the lowest level in 12 years, telling Bloomberg TV that “every investor ought to be considering putting money into equities.” The measure has surged 30 percent since then, approaching his prediction of 1,100.

“When I said 1,100, people thought I was smoking something,” Leuthold, 71, said today. “Now it seems like a much more rational thing, and we are seeing many, many, many people that have said, ‘Hey, I’m going to wait until next year when the economy is improving,’ that are now saying, ‘Uh oh, I think we maybe better move before that.’”

On April 14, Leuthold said in an interview that the S&P 500 would surge to 1,100. The index closed at 908.13 yesterday, after sinking as low as 676.53 in March.

While the Grizzly Short Fund gained as the S&P 500 dropped in 2008, the Leuthold Core Investment Fund lost 27 percent. Still, that was less than the 38 percent retreat by the benchmark index for U.S. stocks.

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