Lazard Vice Chairman: 'I'm still optimistic'

The 3 Cs of global weakness: Gary Parr
The 3 Cs of global weakness: Gary Parr   

Lazard's Gary Parr said Friday he's optimistic that investors will see some gains in 2016, despite the horrid start of the year.

"There's an awful lot of talk about the negatives, and I can easily talk about the negatives and things to worry about, but the bulk of the world is relatively stable. Not high growth, but that's not a terrible thing," the firm's vice chairman told CNBC's "Squawk Box" at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The three major U.S. indexes have dropped into correction territory — at least 10 percent off their 52-week highs — weighed down by a rout in oil prices and perceived weakness in the Chinese economy..

Parr said the fundamentals of the world economy remain sound. "It's going to be choppy, it will be volatile. But fundamentally ... I'm still much more optimistic about that level of growth and what it means for the world."

He also three factors are confusing investors: commodities, currencies and China. Commodities, especially oil, have fallen dramatically, while central banks across the globe are trying to manage their economies through their currency valuations.

On Thursday, the European Central Bank kept its quantitative easing program and its benchmark interest rate unchanged, while ECB President Mario Draghi hinted at further easing at the bank's March meeting.

Meanwhile, China said its economy grew 6.9 percent, its lowest rate in 25 years.

"You take those three and you do get a lot of confusion, a lot of uncertainty and volatility. But that, to me, is market volatility as opposed to the underlying," Parr said. "There is a lot of stability in a lot of places."