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Warren Is ‘Single Biggest Risk for the Market,’ Citrone Says

Hema Parmar

(Bloomberg) -- The rise of U.S. presidential contender Elizabeth Warren is “the single biggest risk for the market,” according to Rob Citrone, founder of hedge fund Discovery Capital Management.

“I think if Elizabeth Warren is leading the way into the February primaries, the S&P will be down 10, 15, 20%,” Citrone said at the C4K Investors Conference in Toronto on Wednesday. “Her policies on regulation, on taxes, on a lot of different things, are substantially different than anything we’ve had in our country before.”

Citrone, who runs a macro-focused hedge fund firm with $2.5 billion in assets, sees volatility ahead as Democrats prepare to pick a candidate to run against President Donald Trump. The growing popularity of Senator Warren, who advocates for a wealth tax, Medicare-for-all and reining in private equity, is stoking fear on Wall Street.

The markets aren’t prepared for the prospect of the Democratic party’s left wing gaining power, said Citrone, who is a registered independent. He rarely backs presidential candidates but donated money to Republican Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.

Turkey Crisis

Citrone’s comments strike a different tone from billionaire Michael Novogratz, who said at a benefit last week that his peers should “lighten up” and stop worrying so much about Warren. Novogratz, the founder of cryptocurrency firm Galaxy Investment Partners, said 97% of the people he knows “are really, really fearful of her” because they think she’s seen as “anti-rich.”

On the international front, Citrone said Turkey and Mexico are headed toward economic crises and may fall into recessions.

“Turkey will have a good old fashioned emerging market crisis” over the next couple of years, with the Turkish Lira dropping by 50%, credit spreads widening and the stock market going down, he said in his presentation. “If there’s one country and one market that is a substantial short over the next couple of years it’s Turkey.”

On Mexico, he said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is presiding over the slow “deterioration” of the country’s institutions. “I think he’s going to take the country to crisis,” Citrone said.

Discovery is based in South Norwalk, Connecticut.

Other highlights from Citrone’s presentation include:

He’s bullish on the currency and equity markets in India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines calling them "solid growers" that have "very bright outlooks." They’re also benefiting from the U.S. trade war with China as a number of companies have shifted their supply chain away from China and to these nations. Citrone said that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is business-friendly, that his administration is cutting corporate and individual taxes and is trying to clean up the state banking system. “If we had to pick one market of size to put assets to work, we think that’s a good place,” he said. On Europe, Citrone said he wouldn’t be surprised if Germany was in a recession next year, and he expects Chancellor Angela Merkel will be out of power in the next three to six months. There’s a 20% to 30% chance of Italy leaving the European Union over the next 18 months, he said. It is “the number one candidate” to potentially be next to exit “which could be a very significant global event.” He also expects Italy’s government to fall in the spring of 2020.

(Updates with more highlights from Citrone’s presentation after 10th paragraph.)

--With assistance from Michael Bellusci and Rob Golum.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hema Parmar in New York at hparmar6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Mirabella at amirabella@bloomberg.net, Josh Friedman

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