An upshot of the financial crisis could be that investors go back to basics. In the case of equities, the means “plain old stock-picking” as Mario Gabelli of Gabelli Asset Management describes it. The paragraphs below are an excerpt of a recent interview Hedgeweek had with Gabelli.

GFM: Will the US be the first country to lead the way out of the crisis? How do you assess the administration’s actions up to now?

MG: Economic stimulus is co-ordinated, global and powerful. The US economy represents 24 per cent of nominal world GDP, and is about 60 per cent greater than the faster-growing China, Russia, India, and Brazil combined. However, we have our challenges. Within the US, the consumer is about 70 per cent of our economy and has been in a recession for the past year and a half. About nine per cent of Americans are now unemployed, and consumer spending remains hamstrung by rising unemployment, reduced wealth and the decline in stock market and housing prices, but also by the limited availability of credit.

An unintended consequence of the stimulation is likely to be inflation. We think the stimulus will work and that stocks are a good place to be. Both fiscal and monetary policy will work on a global basis, with speed bumps along the way. President Obama inherited a very difficult situation. Under the new administration we have had significant government intervention in the markets, which will be reduced as conditions in the economy improve.

GFM: What are you telling your clients? Have you changed anything in your investment strategy?

MG: The US economy should improve in 2010, helped by an uptick in auto spending and improvement in housing and the ongoing stimulus. There is upside operating leverage in corporate earnings, partly due to cost cutting. The secular themes are the US deleveraging and transferring its wealth to China. We expect more strategically-driven deal activity, as companies buy other companies to enhance growth. Our emphasis, as always, is on POSP – plain old stock-picking.

Click here for the full interview

Source: Hedgeweek, August 28, 2009.

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