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Market doesn't know what to believe, will continue to be 'sloppy,' trader says

  • Stocks are going to be "sloppy" and stay range-bound due to the juxtaposition between economic activity and the "antics" coming out of D.C., Keith Bliss told CNBC.
  • Peter Boockvar thinks the biggest risk to stocks is central banks.

The market doesn't know what to believe anymore — and that is going to keep stocks range-bound, trader Keith Bliss told CNBC on Thursday.

Equities closed higher on Thursday after having their worst day of the year on Wednesday.

"When you take a look at the antics that are coming out of Washington and trying to put that in a juxtaposition next to pretty good earnings this quarter, pretty good economic activity, macro data that we have coming out right now, that's why you're going to see sloppy markets like this," the senior vice president at Cuttone & Company said in an interview with "Closing Bell."

The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 372 points on Wednesday after reports emerged that former FBI Director James Comey said President Donald Trump asked him to back off the investigation into ex-national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Then, later on Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that former FBI Director Robert Mueller was tapped by Deputy U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein to be special counsel, overseeing the investigation into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

On Thursday, the Dow gained around 55 points and the S&P 500 rose about 0.4 percent. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.7 percent.

Bliss said the pop came from rumors about Comey's testimony before Congress earlier this month.

A video of that testimony circulated on trading floors on Thursday, but some traders falsely interpreted an exchange between Comey and Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. While some thought James Comey said he was never pressured to end an FBI probe, he actually answered a question specific to the U.S. Attorney General or "senior officials at the Department of Justice."

"In the markets, what we've seen, and what I think we will see going forward, is you sell the rumor, then you buy when they refute the rumor, and we'll have that kind of back-and-forth going for some time," Bliss said.

'Biggest risk' to market is central banks

Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group, isn't surprised at the extent of Wednesday's sell-off, because the postelection rally was driven by hopes for tax and regulatory reform and now Trump is "on the cusp of screwing it all up."

However, he thinks the real threat to the stock market is global central banks.

"You … have a Fed that's raising interest rates into a mediocre economy, and I think at some point that will come to a head in the latter part of the year as they get deeper into the rate-hike cycle and they start getting closer to quantitative tightening," Boockvar, also a CNBC contributor, told "Closing Bell."

The Federal Reserve has indicated it wants to raise interest rates two more times this year. Fed officials have also said they could begin to take action to reduce the Fed's $4 trillion balance sheet by the end of the year.

—CNBC's Silvana Henao, Fred Imbert and Patti Domm contributed to this report.