(Adds additional Cooperman comments)
NEW YORK, Jan 5 (Reuters) - Hedge fund investor Leon Cooperman, the chief executive of Omega Advisors, told CNBC on Thursday his firm’s assets had shrunk to $3.4 billion after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s insider trading charges.
Cooperman, whose firm managed roughly $10.7 billion about two years ago before being charged by the SEC last September, said the agency’s charges had damaged his business.
“I was truly surprised at the destructive power the SEC has,” Cooperman told the television network. “They’ve done substantial damage to my business, and I think, in the end, for no reason.”
The government accused Cooperman of benefiting from trades he made after using his position as a large shareholder to gain information about a planned sale that others did not know about.
Cooperman said his firm’s credit fund gained 16 percent last year, his equity-only fund 10 percent, and his diversified strategy 8 percent. He said his firm owned shares of Facebook , Amazon and Alphabet, with the last constituting 4 percent of the fund’s assets.
He said the U.S. stock market was “fully valued” and that he would turn bearish on stocks if they continued climbing higher over the next two months. The S&P 500 has gained about 6 percent since Donald Trump’s U.S. presidential victory on Nov. 8.
Cooperman also said his firm had added to its position in Gulfport Energy and that he expected oil prices to rise to between $65-70 a barrel in a year. U.S. crude last traded at $53.63 a barrel on Thursday afternoon. (Reporting by Sam Forgione; Editing by Bernadette Baum, Bernard Orr)