I still want to own US stocks: Strategist

The market closed sharply lower Tuesday, but veteran strategist John Manley said he still wants to own U.S. stocks because he doesn't believe this is the top of the cycle.

"This would be the weakest top I've ever saw in my life if we are. We're just getting unemployment down to reasonably acceptable levels. There's no vigor. There's no sign of pricing power," Manley, chief equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds management, said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

Meanwhile, earnings haven't been blockbuster. While the majority of companies that have reported so far have beat expectations, those expectations were significantly lowered. Many names also missed revenue expectations.

However, Manley, who has more than 30 years of investment experience, isn't concerned. He thinks that if the market gets a sense that this is as bad as it gets, or close to it, it will look out six to nine months and see better comparisons.

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In the meantime, the Federal Reserve's zero-interest rate policy is "like a big Mae West on the stock market," he said.

"I still think the Fed keeps us afloat until the earning get better," he said. "I think earnings go up before interest rates go up, and that means I still want to own U.S. stocks."

Rob Morgan, chief investment officer at Sethi Financial, believes one of the reasons the market fell Tuesday was because of a good labor component in the Institute for Supply Management report. The report showed the pace of growth in the U.S. services sector rose to a five-month high in April.

"It's one of those good news is bad news type things," he said, referring to fears that good economic news will lead the Fed to raise rates.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 142.20 points, or 0.79 percent, at 17,928.20.

The S&P 500 closed down 25.02 points, or 1.18 percent, at 2,089.47, with utilities leading all 10 sectors lower.

The Nasdaq closed down 77.60 points, or 1.55 percent, at 4,939.33.

Morgan thinks stocks can continue to rise in the face of a looming interest rate hike.

"It's important to note that at the end of a bull market in stocks, stocks usually rise well into when the Fed starts raising rates. We haven't gotten to that irrational exuberance phase yet," he said.

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He also believes there will be more mergers and acquisitions before the central bank makes its move.

"Money is cheap right now but people are realizing the urgency that money is not going to be cheap for that much longer," Morgan said.

—Evelyn Cheng and Reuters contributed to this report.

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