(Adds additional Cooperman comments)
NEW YORK Jan 5 Hedge fund investor Leon
Cooperman, the chief executive of Omega Advisors, told CNBC on
Thursday his firm's assets had shrunk to $3.4 billion after the
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's insider trading
Cooperman, whose firm managed roughly $10.7 billion about
two years ago before being charged by the SEC last September,
said the agency's charges had damaged his business.
"I was truly surprised at the destructive power the SEC
has," Cooperman told the television network. "They've done
substantial damage to my business, and I think, in the end, for
The government accused Cooperman of benefiting from trades
he made after using his position as a large shareholder to gain
information about a planned sale that others did not know about.
Cooperman said his firm's credit fund gained 16 percent last
year, his equity-only fund 10 percent, and his diversified
strategy 8 percent. He said his firm owned shares of Facebook
, Amazon and Alphabet, with the last
constituting 4 percent of the fund's assets.
He said the U.S. stock market was "fully valued" and that he
would turn bearish on stocks if they continued climbing higher
over the next two months. The S&P 500 has gained about 6
percent since Donald Trump's U.S. presidential victory on Nov.
Cooperman also said his firm had added to its position in
Gulfport Energy and that he expected oil prices to rise
to between $65-70 a barrel in a year. U.S. crude last traded at
$53.63 a barrel on Thursday afternoon.
(Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Bernard