This is a 'once in a lifetime' buying opportunity like '87 and '08, says Ariel's John Rogers

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Stocks’ swift and steep sell-off is providing the type of buying opportunity that doesn’t come around all that often, and investors should take advantage of the downturn, according to Ariel Investments’ chairman John Rogers.

“I think this is a maybe once in a lifetime opportunity to buy stocks at bargain prices,” he said Wednesday night on CNBC. He noted that legendary investor Sir John Templeton famously said “buy when there’s maximum pessimism,” which is how some view the current market outlook amid a wave of selling.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 are coming off two straight days of gains — their first back-to-back rally since February — but they’re still trading well below their February all-time highs as the pandemic has brought travel to a near standstill and shuttered businesses worldwide.

“We’ve been around 37 years at Ariel, and I know I said that ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to buy in ’87 and again in 2008, but I do really think this is an opportunity to take advantage of the volatility, and take advantage of the market,” Rogers said.

He’s not the only investor using the downturn to load up on equities. Bill Miller called this one of the best opportunities he’s ever seen.

And on Wednesday, Pershing Square manager Bill Ackman said he exited his market hedge positions earlier this week and used the more than $2 billion in proceeds to bulk up on new and existing positions

The billionaire investor said he used the influx of cash to add to Pershing’s existing investments in Agilent, Berkshire Hathaway, Hilton, Lowe’s and Restaurant Brands. The fund also purchased “several new investments including reestablishing our investment in Starbucks,” which it had closed in January.

So-called “bond king” Jeffrey Gundlach has also been looking for opportunities. 

“Certainly, I would be keeping powder dry. I’ve actually been getting less negative on the stock market since Friday, yesterday [and] today than I had been,” the DoubleLine chief said in a webcast with investors last week. “I had been quite negative and I’m not very highly exposed. But I was underexposed, I was basically in a net short position. But I’m taking some of that off.”

– CNBC’s Tom Franck contributed reporting.

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