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Putin should be judged by actions, not words: Pros

Sasha Mordovets | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The stock market's rally on Russian President Vladimir Putin's promise not to go beyond Crimea is not warranted, a leading money manager told CNBC on Tuesday.

"The futures are telling us that in the short term, the markets want to believe Putin," said Jack De Gan, Harbor Advisory's chief investment officer. "But I think you have to judge him by his actions, not by his words."

In a "Squawk Box" interview, De Gan said the manner in which Putin seized Crimea raises doubt. "I believe [Putin] would like to have the rest of Ukraine. But I think he'll let the international furor die down and integrate Crimea first and then look at moving further west."

In a speech before Russia's parliament Tuesday, Putin accused the West of encouraging unrest in Ukraine in order to break its historic ties with Russia. He dismissed criticism from the U.S. and Europe that Sunday's Crimean vote to join Russia was illegitimate. Putin also said he had no reason to push further west. After his address, he signed a treaty to incorporate Crimea into Russia.

(Read more: World speculates on Putin's next Ukraine move)

"I don't think Putin wants to get that much more engaged. I think economically … it would be too expensive for him to annex the whole of Ukraine. Ukraine has major financial and economic difficulties," said Boris Jordan, an investor for a 25-year track record investing in Russia.

But Jordan, chief executive of the Sputnik Group, told CNBC Tuesday: "If there's a civil war [in Ukraine] and there's a tremendous amount of unrest and Russia comes under threat, he will certainly be involved at least diplomatically and maybe potentially militarily."

James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, described the situation as very fluid. "It's going to hang around in terms of being headline risk for the markets. It's very fluid and we'll see where [Putin] is going to take this."

"Unless there's some Western military intervention here—and I highly doubt [it] ... it's going to hang around in terms of being a [temporary] headline risk for the markets," he added during a "Squawk Box" appearance Tuesday.

Paulsen said better-than-expected U.S. economic growth will be a bigger story for stocks. "To the extent that the economic momentum remains fairly solid, I think this market is going higher. I think it's going to go above 1,900 towards 2,000."

However, he warned that good news could turn sour for stocks later this year, "because it starts to become bad news for interest rates and also for the Fed and inflation."

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC. Wire services contributed to this report.

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