Billionaire fund manager Jeffrey Gundlach, who famously shorted Apple stock before it crashed in 2012, has a new tech investment nemesis: Facebook.
Increasing regulation is likely to derail Facebook’s stock price, Gundlach, chief investment officer at DoubleLine Capital, said in a speech at the Ira Sohn investment conference in New York on Monday.
Shares of Facebook have lost 10% over the past month, amid revelations that personal data from 87 million of its users was improperly leaked to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. But Gundlach said he was shorting the stock to profit from a much deeper slide. The stock dropped less than 1% to $165.62 in afternoon trading on Monday after Gundlach spoke.
“Equity bubbles pop by regulation,” Gundlach said. “Nothing new ever occurs in the business of speculating,” Gundlach added, quoting famed 1920s investor Jesse Livermore. “What’s happened in the past will happen again and again and again.”
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During two Congressional hearings, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologized repeatedly for the data leak and promised the company would do better. But many lawmakers appeared unswayed by Zuckerberg’s promises and new legislation could be on the way to curb the company’s data collection practices.
The massive social network’s 2.2 billion users could be thought of as “2.2 billion compliance breaches,” Gundlach said, while also comparing Zuckerberg’s Congressional appearances to the infamous photo of former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis riding in a tank during the 1988 presidential race and Dukakis’ weak answer to a death penalty question at a debate.
Although known as a bond investor — and one of the best at that — Gundlach has also made successful calls on tech stocks.
In April and May 2012, Gundlach warned investors to sell Apple shares, then trading over $600 (which would be equal to $86 a share now, after accounting for a 7-1 share split in 2014). Within a year, the stock had plummeted to under $400 (equal to $56 a share now), when Gundlach reversed course and advised buying the shares. A year later, in 2014, Apple (AAPL) shares were again over $600.
On Monday, along with advising against Facebook (FB), the fund manager said he would buy an index of oil and gas stocks, as part of a bet that the economy will slow as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
“Some people think inflation should not rise going into a recession, but actually the opposite is true,” Gundlach said. “One should expect that as the next recession approaches, commodities should have a big gain.”