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Why Charles Larsen will be staying out of the market

The California-based investor won't be putting money in stocks again until the economy recovers – which he says it patently hasn't done.

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While many Americans may be flirting with buying stocks again, Charles J. Larsen isn't one of them. He wants to keep his wallet as far away from Wall Street as he can.

"It's crazy that anyone would think now is the time to get back in equities, fixed income, or real estate," says the California-based investor and onetime portfolio manager. "If anything, investors should be increasing positions in precious metals. But with all the propaganda about how great the stock market is supposedly doing, most people believe it."

Mr. Larsen exited stocks in 2008, in the middle of the downturn, and expects to stay out for at least the next three to five years. He's waiting for a more active but stable trading market and for the economy to recover – particularly small business.

"Main Street is not buying this recovery," he says. "We're not feeling it. Wall Street and [Washington] D.C. are selling it, but we're not buying it. It's just not happening yet."

Larsen isn't alone in urging caution. Similar warnings are coming from some of the corner offices of Wall Street. Bill Gross, the highly regarded founder and managing director of PIMCO, a global investment firm overseeing more than $1.9 trillion in assets, warns about a market too pumped up by expansionist Federal Reserve monetary policies and a migration of investors to the "grassier plains of risk assets."

"Investors should be cautious and temper their enthusiasm," he wrote in his March investment outlook.


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