This could return greed to Wall Street: Paulsen

Pullback presents short-term buying opportunity: Pro
Pullback presents short-term buying opportunity: Pro

Signals from the bond market highlight concerns about the economy's strength, but James Paulsen—chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management—told CNBC on Tuesday that growth is better than many investors think.

"I think we're north of 3 percent [economic growth]. I think the reports have been pretty darn good," he said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "If you look at the data on Main Street, I think it's definitely notched up."

During last week's sharp selloff in stocks—which saw bond prices rise—Paulsen argued that encouraging reports on jobless claims and consumer confidence may have been lost in the shuffle.

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"The consensus [for GDP] is the 2.5 percent number. If we find out we're 3 [percent], then momentum on Main Street is going to return greed to Wall Street," he added.

Paulsen has been predicting a flat year for stocks. "I think we might get as high as [S&P 500] 2,000 this year and come down to where we started the year."

The S&P 500 index rebounded nearly 1 percent Monday to close at 1,830 after falling 2.7 percent for all of last week. "This [selling] is temporary and probably a buying opportunity, at least in the short-term," Paulsen said.

For the year, the S&P is off about 1 percent.

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—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere.