Former Home Depot CEO Explains Why It’s One of the Hardest Times to Invest in Over 50 Years

The world looks a lot different than it did three years ago. 

Most of us have not-too-distant memories of wearing masks to pick up groceries and staying six feet away from strangers in public. In the markets, people on Reddit were endlessly discussing bitcoin and GameStop  (GME) – Get Free Report

But it isn’t just niche corners of the stock market that look different today. The entire market as a whole seems to have experienced something of a paradigm shift. 

DON’T MISS: Former Home Depot CEO Issues Dire Warning About U.S. Economy

That’s according to former Home Depot  (HD) – Get Free Report CEO Bob Nardelli, who says the market has changed in a discernible way post-covid, even for noninvestors. 

“If you think about what’s happened, Maria, coming out of covid,” Nardelli told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, “We really switched from a production to a services enterprise economy, in the form of air travel and in the form of hospitality, where demand is outstripping capacity because they’re resized during the covid period. So we’re seeing that issue out there.”

Nardelli added that money is harder to come by, especially for small and medium-size businesses. 

“We’re seeing fundraising as a problem. There’s over 3,000 people trying to raise funds out there. It’s gone from nine months to 21 months. They’re trying to raise $1.3 trillion this time and it’s been extremely difficult to do it.”

Firms ‘Thought Trees Had No Tops’: Nardelli

Since money is hard to come by and the U.S. approach to quelling inflation has been centered on the Federal Reserve, interest rates are squeezing companies ever harder. 

“A lot of these companies thought the trees had no tops,” Nardelli said of the low-interest-rate environment from several years ago. 

“They got caught in this downturn. They thought they would make it through this downturn and now they’re running out of cash. There’s been a lot of fire sales and a lot of multiples coming down, Maria.” 

Despite difficult economic conditions, the stock market seems to be escalating higher by the month. The S&P 500 is up about 19% year-to-date. 

“It’s the dichotomy here,” Nardelli said. “I’ve never seen … where the market is performing so well and some of the companies are so challenged. That’s some of the challenge that we’re facing out there.”

Nardelli suggested that the Biden administration hasn’t been trying to control inflation with the same vigor that the U.S. Federal Reserve is, and the Fed only has one lever to pull, which can inflict damage on businesses. 

“The only arm of the administration that’s trying to dampen inflation are the Feds. There’s no policy being done, other than they’re flooding the market with cash that is allowing some of this inflation to go on. … So it is one of the more challenging periods I’ve lived 52 years.”

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