CNBC Stock Blog

Playing This Market Is All About Valuation: Strategist

To come out ahead in a choppy market, investors should avoid piling into cash and focus instead on valuation, one strategist told CNBC.

"Valuations are very extreme here, and I think for an individual long-term investor, they've got to keep a focus on that," said David Kelly, chief market strategist for JPMorgan Funds. "Fixed income is expensive. Stocks are cheap. This is no time to get out of stocks because of that."

Long-term investors should focus on large-cap growth and tech stocks, Kelly said. Short-term investors should take a slightly different approach, he said.

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"In the short term, I’d be more balanced—just be very diversified, but don’t get into cash," he said. "Cash is paying you nothing, and remember, valuations are very extreme here. So all we need is an absence of really bad news for the market to move higher."

He added that he does not think that economic conditions have changed as much as people think, and that estimates for the upcoming earnings season are holding up.

Calling gold a "speculative" asset, Kelly said the precious metal should not be a big part of an investor's portfolio.

Dan Fitzpatrick, president of stockmarketmentor.comand a former hedge fund manager, was more bullish on gold.

"I think it's really, really tough for investors to make sense of it, so you just have to make sense of what you know, and that's energy, precious metals," Fitzpatrick told CNBC.

He thinks the S&P 500 will continue to trade in the range of 1100 to 1220 — and added that stocks have hit their lows already.

Until the market breaks out of that range, traders should continue at those levels as the markets continue to seesaw on news from Europe and the US, Fitzpatrick said.

"I've never seen the market so reactive to news," he said. "One day it's Armageddon, and we're going into a recession. The next day — not so much."

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Disclosure information was not available for David Kelly, Dan Fitzpatrick or their companies.