Hedge fund guru Carl Icahn sees serious threats to the equity market on the horizon, namely inflation and the eventual end of the Federal Reserve’s lax monetary policy.
“Our country has been enjoying cheap commodities and finished products from Asia but as the middle class continues to grow in Asia, there will be competition for cheap goods and the bargain basement prices the U.S. consumer has enjoyed will end,” Icahn tells Fortune. “Inflation will follow, forcing interest rates higher, which will decrease earnings.”
Icahn also says artificially low interest rates “helps earnings and the market because it lowers debt-service costs and more importantly, produces speculation in stocks, but these low rates cannot last forever.” He also says corporations have cut fat from their budgets to boost earnings, “but what can they do for an encore?”
But despite his concerns, Icahn says he’s not predicting a crash in the next week or month. “However, once our huge retirement funds are no longer forced into the equity market because today’s low interest rates give them no alternative, I am very concerned that our markets will go into another major downturn, possibly within the next two years,” he says.
Icahn is finding opportunities in the market, however, and is particularly high on biotech firms, which he says is a great area for activist investors like himself.