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Wells Fargo’s famous bear is turning a new leaf

Gina Martin Adams, institutional equity strategist at Wells Fargo Securities, has turned a new leaf.

In 2013, she had the most bearish S&P 500 target on the street, at 1,440. This year, Adams is tied for the lowest S&P target, at 1,850, which means she expects to see a flat year. And even though the market is already trading about 6 percent above her target, she is adamant about not being a bear.

"I certainly wouldn't consider myself bearish," Adams said on Thursday's "Futures Now." "I don't think you can fight this market. I think the trend is pretty consistently higher."

But, that said, Adams still expects to see the market slide at some point in the near future.

"I think we'll have a pretty good opportunity to put some money to work here in the equity market upon a correction. You know, when that correction comes is kind of anyone's guess for now," she said, but "I think you just wait to put a lot more money to work until you get a better valuation on the equity market."

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Describing her overall take on the market, Adams clarifies that "it's not a sell call, [but] it's not an outright buy call either. I think, in terms of what to buy, it's really just a call not to buy the entire market, but to buy, maybe, some of the laggards."

Statues of a bear and a bull outside the Frankfurt Stock Exchange
Hannelore Foerster | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Statues of a bear and a bull outside the Frankfurt Stock Exchange

And in fact, when Adams was asked what most are missing about the market, she surprisingly said that it's the bearish case that's been misguided.

"There's still actually quite a bit of bearish sentiment on the part of the retail investor. They're very skeptical as to whether the equity market is reflective of the broader economy. And what I'd say they're missing there is, the equity market doesn't always trade with the broader economy. It trades with liquidity conditions and interest rates just as much as it does with the broader economy, so you have to be pretty careful about painting the equity market with one big, broad brush like that," the strategist said.

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So what's changed her mind?

"We were signficiantly more concerned that the stock market might actually key in on earnings trends, and earnings trends were terribly bearish over the last two years," she said. "This year, we've started to see some signs of potentially acceleration in economic growth, some reprieve in the commodities complex, and certainly all those factors kind of contribute to a better earnings outlook for stocks this year than we've had for quite some time."

And now that Adams is seeing "earnings growth picking up, we're a little bit more optimistic that we can find some pretty good stocks within the S&P."


—By CNBC's Alex Rosenberg

Watch "Futures Now" Tuesdays & Thursdays 1 p.m. ET exclusively on FuturesNow.CNBC.com!

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