"We have to be somewhat optimistic on the outlook. Keep in mind consumers seem to have a big preference for durable goods," Matus said. "Usually when consumers are willing to buy a car, they're willing to buy other things."
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Matus said he is also watching ISM manufacturing data Tuesday, and manufacturing activity should continue to be strong, as indicated by the Philadelphia Fed and Empire State surveys. He said he expects the data to confirm that second-quarter growth should show good improvement over the first quarter.
As for the second half, he expects growth of just more than 3 percent. "I don't see anything that suggests that's offsides," he said.
Stocks have been drifting higher but hit some rough spots in the past week, when investors worried the Fed's move to normalcy may be coming at a time when the economy is still moving ahead too slowly. Stocks were lower for the week but closed out the month and quarter with solid gains.
"I think the market is looking at this as half full," said BlackRock's chief investment strategist, Russ Koesterich. "If you have a less robust economy, you have a less aggressive Fed ... this is going to be the challenge. If the economy improves, and you have an acceleration in earnings, you can live with a slightly more hawkish Fed."
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The market is vulnerable to a correction, but if there is not a major catalyst—like escalation of the situations in either Ukraine or Iraq—Koesterich says stocks could continue to move higher. His S&P 500 target is 1,950 to 2,000 for year-end.
"I think the stock market is extended, particularly in the U.S. Stocks can grind higher but you have to realize you're starting at a much higher valuation point than you were two years ago," Koesterich said, adding he expects further gains to be fairly muted.
"There's still patches of softness. It's still clear consumption is not booming, but generally the economy is improving. It's a subpar recovery and that hasn't changed," he said.
Koesterich said he will be watching the jobs report for a sign wages are beginning to rise. "There's some anecdotal evidence that you're seeing wage pressures in select areas," but that has not shown up on a national level, he said.
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"I do think if you see a positive 200,000 (plus) print, people are going to start to be more focused on the first rate hike and that will make some of the hawks on the Fed come out more," he said. The Fed, by its own forecasts, is not expected to start raising rates until 2015.
Some economists have dismissed the pickup in CPI as any meaningful sign of inflation because wages have not grown. But the markets are sensitive to the idea since inflation could push the Fed toward raising rates, while the economy is growing slowly. The yield curve this past week flattened with longer-duration yields falling and shorter-term yields rising. The 10-year yield was at 2.53 percent Friday.
"I think the bond market is adjusting with the flattening of the yield curve. The stock market—I'm not sure what it's thinking," said Peter Boockvar, chief analyst with Lindsey Group.
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Koesterich said he doesn't see a threat from inflation yet. "Six, nine months ago people were worried about real deflation in the U.S., and I think that's abated ... I started to hear some questions about inflation, but it's still early days. When you look at bond yields, there's no inflation baked in," he said. "The stock market is taking comfort, considering how well behaved the bond market has been. It's lot easier to support a multiple of 18 when yields are at 2.5 rather than 3.5 percent."