What David Tepper Needs to See Before Going ‘Balls to the Wall’ in the Market

Tepper said he wants to see government action and “ventilators rolling off the factory floor” before he’ll go all in.

David Tepper (Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

David Tepper

(Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg)

David Tepper is “nibbling around the edges” of the market right now but waiting to make big moves until he sees a plan from the government for how it will handle the coronavirus pandemic.

Tepper, the founder of hedge fund Appaloosa Management, told CNBC’s Scott Wapner Monday that he has been “nibbling” at technology and healthcare stocks, as well as corporate bonds and bank debt.

“Things look really interesting for the long term,” Tepper said during the interview, which aired on CNBC’s Halftime Report. “I once said it’s balls to the walls. They’re strictly in my jockstrap right now.”

In other words, Tepper is holding back on throwing money into the market for now. For other investors, Tepper said that there’s nothing wrong with investing a little bit, but they should avoid being over-leveraged, given that the market could fall further.

Tepper said that he’s waiting on a few things before he decides to invest more in the market. First, he wants to see the economic stimulus package passed by Congress.

“It’s a very important step to make sure people know they’re covered, and small businesses will still be around,” Tepper said. “It’s going to be imperfect, and people are going to have to accept that.”

He added that he thinks it would be helpful for President Donald Trump to tap into the emergency powers he has available to boost the production of ventilators, masks, and other necessary healthcare equipment.

Tepper said he wants to see “ventilators rolling off the factory floor,” and he called on General Motors chief executive officer Mary Barra to provide details on when those ventilators will become available.

“We have to get the masks and ventilators produced,” he said.

Beyond that, Tepper said he wants a plan from governors in the states most affected — the New York tri-state area, California, and Washington — to get out of what he called “this lockdown mode.”

Tepper added that a specific time frame on when people can expect to return to normal daily life would be helpful in shoring up the markets.

“Once we get those done, the market will get a lot more confident,” Tepper said. “I’m ready to go when I see these things. I have money on the sides. I can’t wait to invest again.”

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Tepper also extended an offer to pitch in and help however he could.

“If they called me right now, I’d help in any way I could,” Tepper said. “Every American should do that right now. Everybody has to help everybody else.”