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Here’s what will be different about 2014: KKR

For many analysts the year ahead could be like the one just past with global equity markets gaining at the expense of bonds as the global economy gains momentum.

And while investors should "stay the course" this year, there are some important reasons why 2014 will be different from last year, KKR's global macro and asset allocation team said in its 2014 outlook report on Tuesday.

(Read more: US stocks starting off 2014 in correction mode?)

Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images
Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

For starters, KKR said that while it maintained an overweight position towards equity markets in the developed world and a "massive" underweight position in government bonds, it expected stock markets in the U.S., Europe and Japan to have a bumpier ride this year with a correction along the way.

Indeed, after a stellar 2013 major stock markets appear to be on the back foot amid a mixed start to the U.S. earnings season and Friday's soft U.S. jobs report.

The blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average, which hit a record high last year, suffered a triple-digit loss on Monday. Japan's Nikkei stock index, the darling of world equity markets last year with a surge of almost 57 percent, is down almost 5 percent since the start of the year.

(Read more: Dollar bulls: Time to pack up and go home?)

"There are a few strikes against the [stock] market but I would argue only in the short-term," Liz Ann Sonders, senior vice president and chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab told CNBC Asia's "Squawk Box."

"Sentiment was stretched towards the end of the year. It's an election year in the States and when you have a four-year presidential cycle, there are some pretty nasty corrections within those," she added.

Divergent EMs

KKR strategists added that while emerging markets were likely to lag their developed peers this year, as they did last year, investors should expect some differentiation within emerging market stocks in 2014.

"We finally expect some differentiation in EM [emerging market] equities, which we believe could allow asset allocators to gain a performance edge. This was not the case in 2013 as essentially all EM currencies and equities generally lagged across the board," they said in the report.

Currencies and stock markets in South Korea and Mexico are likely to perform well this year, KKR said.

"We also think China could perform better in 2014, which represents a notable change in thinking," it added.

China's benchmark Shanghai Composite stock index was a notable underperformer last year, even as other global stock markets rallied thanks to a brighter economic outlook.

Worries that a resumption of initial public offerings will divert funds from existing shares have hurt sentiment in recent weeks, with the stock market hitting a five-month low this week.

(Read more: New Year, new woes for China stocks)

Another change KKR expected was in the U.S. dollar, which rallied last year against emerging market and commodity currencies but not European ones such as the euro. Europe's single currency rose about four percent against the dollar in 2013. This was likely to change in the year ahead, said KKR.

"With stronger U.S. growth ahead of us—and government shutdowns behind us—we think that the dollar rally will now likely include various European currencies," it said.

— By CNBC.Com's Dhara Ranasinghe; @DharaCNBC

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