Jim Rogers: Bitcoin ‘looks and smells’ like all other investment bubbles

At 75, veteran investor Jim Rogers remains as sharp and feisty as he was two decades ago when I first met him at Columbia Business School.

More importantly for investors in search of ideas — he’s just as opinionated.

Like him or not, Rogers is worth listening to because he has a respectable record. Sure, he makes mistakes. Most recently, he regrets not buying bitcoin ahead of its massive run-up, as a lot of people do (including me).

But he famously made a bundle alongside George Soros in the Quantum Fund. He also made a great call on commodities in the late 1990s when he turned bullish ahead of an extended bull run, and set up the Rogers International Commodity Index (RICI).

Given his experience and record — and all the uncertainties in the world — I recently checked in with Rogers in Singapore, on what to buy and what to avoid. Here are the highlights.

Lighten up on U.S. stocks

Rogers says he has little exposure to U.S. stocks. He thinks there’s a bubble forming in popular names that seem to go up every day, such as Amazon.com Inc.AMZ, +0.79% And he’s a little worried about narrowing market breadth, which can precede a selloff of the S&P 500 SPX, -0.08%

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He’s not overwhelmingly negative on U.S. stocks, however. After all, the Federal Reserve will probably step in and save the day if there is another serious setback, he says. And like Ed Yardeni of Yardeni Research, Rogers thinks there could be a melt-up in U.S. stocks before there’s a meltdown. “There is enough easy money to keep things going,” he says.

Instead, he’s underweight U.S. stocks mainly because there are better opportunities elsewhere. Let’s take a look.

Avoid bitcoin

Bitcoin has performed amazingly well, so it’s tempting to buy. Don’t bother, says Rogers. “It looks and smells like all the bubbles I have seen throughout history.” True, bubbly assets can continue to march higher than any rational person imagines possible. So there could be further gains. But messing around with bubbles is risky. Better to just stay away. “I have missed it, whatever it is,” Rogers says.



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