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Thursday, December 11, 2014

"Welcome to the Old Normal," Highland Tells the Press

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

"Welcome to the old normal."

That was Mark Okada's mantra today at Highland Capital Management's [profile] 2015 outlook press luncheon at the Bobby Vans Steakhouse across the street from the NYSE. A dozen or two reporters listened to Okada, Highland's co-founder and chief investment officer, offer his take on where the markets are heading next year in light of the end of the Fed's quantitative easing program.

"I think we're back to the way things used to be," Okada argued, predicting decent but lower returns and more divergence within and across sectors and countries. "What really matters is research and active management ... The alpha's back."

Former CNBC anchor Darby Dunn was on hand to moderate a Q&A session with Okada, Highland chief product strategist Ethan Powell, and PetroCap managing director Lane Britain. (PetroCap is an affiliate of Highland.) The falling price of oil, and the resulting fallout in the high-yield fixed income market, were popular subjects.

Prosek Partners helped Highland with the event, which was held in the restaurant's basement vault room. Reporters enjoyed a buffet-style lunch featuring steak with mushroom sauce, lemon chicken with capers, risotto, potatoes, broccoli, pasta and salad, as well as dessert. And Highland gave away portable, rechargeable, external charger packs for mobile devices. 

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