The Tell: He pinpointed the coronavirus market bottom and now he’s laying out what he sees for the rest of the year

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Whitney Tilson, who closed his hedge fund in 2017 after years of underperformance, has had plenty of misfires over his long career. Of course, he’s not alone on Wall Street in that regard.

But now, the founder and CEO of Empire Financial Research has reason to puff his chest over his recent market call. And puff his chest he did in a note posted on ValueWalk.

Claiming the stock market “reacted exactly as I expected it would,” Tilson pointed out the fact that the S&P 500 bottomed on March 23 at 2,191.86 — the exact hour that he was discussing his optimistic outlook for the next phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We pounded the table and said this was the best buying opportunity we’d seen since the global financial crisis,” he wrote. “It’s been one of the fastest, biggest rallies in history.”

Days before that, in the midst of the steep selloff, Tilson was also touting the fire sale on stocks that just weeks before were selling for twice the price. “Catching a falling knife requires a strong stomach, but history is on my side,” he told Yahoo Finance in an interview at the time.

His bullishness last month, he said, was rooted in his hopeful prediction for the slowing spread of the coronavirus “which could happen as soon as a couple of weeks from now.”

The good news for bulls is that, if Tilson still has his fingers on the pulse of this pandemic market, stocks won’t be revisiting the March lows soon. While he believes investors could be caught in a rangebound market for a few months, he’s confident the year ends solidly higher.

“As clarity emerges and we start to recover, the market moves materially higher and closes the year roughly 10% higher than today,” he said, putting his target for the S&P above 3,000.

At last check, the S&P 500 index SPX, +2.67% was trading around 2,815, up nicely in Tuesday’s trading session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +2.99% and the Nasdaq COMP, +1.38% were also in rally mode.

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