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By Andrew Gogerty | 06-09-2009 04:36 PM

Senser on Risks to the Recovery

ICAP's Jerry Senser cites high debt levels and geopolitical risks in the Middle East as among the biggest concerns to the healing economy.

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Gogerty: One of the things that ICAP has always done well, especially from what you do, is meld the macro view of the world with the stock-specific research. From a broader level, looking around the globe and outside of the U.S., what are some of your biggest concerns right now?

Senser: Well obviously in the United States and in Europe, debt levels are reasonably high. Private debt levels in the United States are high; the government is undertaking pretty large deficit spending that may extend for some time. So we are in an unusual situation where we're not exactly sure how the consumer is going to respond. Hopefully, demand will be solid and there are indications that will indeed be the case. But we're in a little bit of a different kind of experience in our expectations. If you look out two or three years, this will be a subpar recovery. With that said, we still think the economy can grow reasonably well coming out of the downturn.

We think the other aspects of concern will be geo-political. Iran continues to move along in its quest for nuclear weapons, and as we take a look out into the next year, there's some chance that we see increased political tension in the Middle East, even military conflict. If that occurred, you could see energy prices well into the hundreds for crude oil, and that would obviously be detrimental for the economy and the stock market.

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