"We think the short end (of the Treasury yield curve) continues to move higher on Fed speak. It's really the long end we think is going to be anchored by this very expansionary easing that's going on by the ECB (European Central Bank) that's causing very low rates in European markets," said Oppenheimer Asset Management technical analyst Ari Wald. "You can make a case that you're going to see a backup in European rates. It's hard to make a case for higher rates here."
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He expects the 10-year Treasury yield to stay in its current low range, with upside around 2.50 percent for 2015.
"We still like (stocks). When you look at 2014, really it was stealth bear markets in small- and mid-cap stocks. Now you have the Russell 2000 set up to really break higher. I think we could set up for this broad-based breakout with a lot of stocks participating," said Wald. "Nasdaq—that's one of our favorite areas. They're slowly going to make it back to those old highs."
Despite the forecast for a relatively smooth ride, strategists point to potential market volatility around growth scares in China or Europe, where Greek election uncertainty could create more jitters in January. Geopolitical developments in Russia or the Middle East could also rock markets. The rising dollar, if it gains too much upside momentum, could also be a possible risk.
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But Keon said one of the biggest risks to the market is its own complacency. "After so many good years in a row, anything we get as an outside shock, it could have a big impact on our market," he said, adding stocks are more vulnerable to volatility.
Wald, however, said one encouraging trend is that the sentiment is not overly optimistic. "There does seem to be some optimism in the market, but I question how much optimism there is. Every time you get a pull back, fear picks up pretty quickly," he said. "I think overall sentiment is pretty mixed here."
A number of strategists are eyeing Europe as a possible opportunity in the next year. The ECB is expected to meet Jan. 22 and there is speculation it will announce a "quantitative easing" bond-buying program.
"So far, we have been really emphasizing the U.S. I do think here will be a trade maybe next year because Europe looks a lot cheaper," Keon said. "There will come a time when that rotation makes sense."