Saturday, 14 September 2019 18:35

Chicago billionaire Sam Zell is raising cash to record levels in this dicey climate

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Earlier this year, Sam Zell, the billionaire chairman of Chicago-based Equity Group Investments, said President Donald Trump’s continued push for interest-rate cuts could lead to “disaster”[1] for the U.S. economy.

He didn’t sound much more bullish on Wednesday:

‘We certainly never had a cash position like we have now. I think we’re very reticent about the opportunity. We think there’s gonna be some significant opportunities, but what we don’t see is the urgency.’

Keeping the powder dry is nothing new for Zell, who’s been calling for a recession for a while now. “It very hard to sit there and not pull the trigger, but it’s the guys who don’t pull the trigger who are around to pull it when it works,” he said last year[2], when he admitted to having $3.2 billion in cash.

Apparently, the pile’s bigger now, and still he waits for the slowdown.

“It’s very hard to have a recession when interest rates are zero,” he told CNBC[3] on Wednesday. “The fact that I’m waiting for one is probably a positive sign because complacency is usually a major factor that leads to big surprises.”

Zell has managed to keep his sense of humor about his misfires.

“Isn’t the real problem that pundits like you and me and her haven’t been right about anything?” he asked, referring to the guests on the CNBC panel. “We sit here and we predict that it’s gonna be this, it’s gonna be that, and we’re worried about this and we’re worried about that, and meanwhile the game keeps going.”

Watch the full interview:

At last check, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.14%[4] was bouncing back from Tuesday’s decline with a triple-digit advance. ...


  1. ^ could lead to “disaster” (
  2. ^ he said last year (
  3. ^ told CNBC (
  4. ^ DJIA, +0.14% (

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