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Pimco pro: Stocks will beat bonds this year

Pimco pro: Stocks look better than bonds

Pimco may run the world's biggest bond fund. But that doesn't mean the company is universally enthusiastic about the bond market.

"Equities probably outperform bonds this year," Pimco market strategist and portfolio manager Tony Crescenzi said on Thursday's episode of "Futures Now." "Pimco would be fully invested in the this year."

"This may sound a bit different to hear from Pimco," Crescenzi conceded.

Yet Pimco's prediction about economic growth really leaves it with no choice but to prefer equities.

In the past, "we've focused on the idea of a 'new normal,' and we've been projecting growth of about 2 percent for a long time, and that's been where it's been," Crescenzi said. But now "we expect economic growth of between 2.5 percent and 3 percent in the United States this year. For Pimco, that's pretty high."

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Of course, the "new normal" is the theory famously promulgated by Mohamed El-Erian, the recently departed former CEO and co-CIO of Pimco. In 2009, El-Erian presciently predicted that growth would remain unusually slow in the post-financial crisis period.

In a January appearance on CNBC, El-Erian said the "new normal" would soon end, and Crescenzi agrees that it's about time for that sluggish period to fade into the rearview mirror.

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"PIMCO is projecting the old normal to return this year!" Crescenzi wrote enthusiastically in his notes to CNBC.

Tony Crescenzi
Matthew Staver | Bloomberg | Getty Images

As the economy grows, Crescenzi expects to see the range for the 10-year yield shift higher, up to 2.75 percent to 3.25 percent. This would decrease the prices of Treasury notes.

Meanwhile, accelerating GDP growth would clearly be good for stocks.

What's interesting about the call, though, is that if stocks beat bonds in 2014, it will probably be bad news for Pimco.

The outflows from the world's largest bond fund continue, with $3.1 billion fleeing Pimco's flagship Total Return Fund in March, according to Morningstar.

This marks 11 consecutive month of outflows, and follows negative publicity about the departure of El-Erian as well as continued concerns about the Total Return Fund's negative performance in 2013 and weak start to 2014.

Read MorePressure on Gross as investors pull $3.1 billion

Crescenzi does add a caveat to his prediction.

"When I say that equities will outperform [bonds], we mean those that are the most interest rate sensitive. That specifically means U.S. Treasurys," Crescenzi said. "Move away from that, and you have may have returns—depending on the bond, depending on the market. You could look globally, for example, and that could fare just as well as equities for all we know."

And he makes the additional point that investors don't hold stocks and bonds for the same reasons.

"Investors, of course, must remember why they have bonds in the first place, which is to give them insurance so they can get in the car and drive—take the risks they want in equities, in other kinds of assets, because they've got a stabilizing influence in their portfolios," Crescenzi said. "This is important especially as Americans age as a population."

—By CNBC's Alex Rosenberg.

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