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Financials Have 'Great Operating Environment' Now: Investment Strategist

Markets slid slightly at the open on Thursday, after weekly jobless claims fell less than analysts had anticipated. How should investors be positioned? David Joy, chief market strategist at RiverSource Investments, and James Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, shared their market insights.

Market Edge

“We should be optimistic,” Joy told CNBC.

“Business conditions are getting better—the capital markets for the debt side of things have been getting robust and we’re seeing it on the equity side which is a terrific sign.”

(Scroll down for Joy's best sector plays.)

Meanwhile, Paulsen said he is noticing an increased number of IPOs and new M&A activities in the market.

“We’ve had almost a daily announcement of companies hiking their dividend payments, we’ve had evidence of capital spending and consumers returning to the retail outlets,” he added.

“There’s a lot of good behaviors that we didn’t have 3 to 6 months ago that are there today, and are very optimistic for where we are headed.”

Paulsen expects the markets to continue rising and remains “overweight.” He is bullish on the cyclicals and noted that while financials had been “left for dead and forgotten,” the sector is starting to make a turnaround. (Read on to see Paulsen's sector picks.)

Financials "have a great operating environment of wide spreads and cheap deposit balances. And what’s going to be the driver for those is loan demands that are going to show back as soon we get jobs back and an inventory build,” Paulsen said.

“You’re going to have household and business loan demands, which if you had volume on a very nice operating environment for the financials, we’re going to see those continue to lead.”

Paulsen Likes:




Small Cap Stocks

Emerging Markets

Joy Likes:





Market Point/Counterpoint:

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  • Cramer's 12 Stocks to Play the Recovery


Financials - Top Trading Volume Today:


Bank of America


Synovus Financial

Huntington Bancshares


No immediate information was available for Joy or Paulsen.