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Across My Desk: Don't know what to do in this market?



Don't know what to do in this market? One seasoned money manager suggests doing nothing.

Manny Weintraub is the founder of Integre Advisors and former managing director of Neuberger Berman. Below are his market comments gleaned from a recent press release:

"There's a lot going on in the markets right now, but in a sense, I don't think there's really very much new," says Weintraub. "It's the same old tug of war between inflation and recession. Oil's hitting $100 and we're cutting rates and printing dollars like crazy. So, it's a conundrum.

I think it's a good time to not rush into doing anything. It's a little early to be positioning yourself for the end, for the turnaround, because we haven't even started having problems in many cases, excluding the financials. And, it's a little late to be positioning yourself entirely defensively.

If you want to be invested in stocks...there are still good opportunities: I look for a good balance sheet and good prospects internationally as well as domestically.

But you don't want to be too aggressive. Sometimes people say, 'Don't you want to take a flyer on home builders?' I think it's way too early for that - several years too early to be looking at home building as a potential investment.

There's no rush to do things. If you remember, from March 2000 to September 2002, you couldn't catch a break trying to buy stock. And then there was plenty of money to be made when they rallied. But two years was a long time. It doesn't feel like that long now, but when you're living through it, it takes a long time - that's the paradox of time.

How long will it take this time? That's the debate. Some people say you don't want to fight the Fed, and every time the Fed has cut rates, 10 months later, the market is higher. Except for the 2000-2002 period, when it took years. So the question is which side of the debate are you on? I'm going to go with years - I would be on the side of things taking longer to work out rather than shorter...."


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