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Bull market still young! Look at my numbers: Pro

The bull market in stocks is not really 5 years old because analysts are using the wrong low to measure its duration, Raymond James Chief Investment Strategist Jeff Saut told CNBC on Tuesday.

"We made the nominal low in March 2009, but we made the valuation low, by my pencil, in October 2011," Saut said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "So we're about 32 or 33 months into this."

During that time, the S&P 500 has risen nearly 65 percent.

In making his argument, Saut pointed to history. "Nobody measures the 1982 to 2000 secular bull market from the nominal price level of December 1974. They measure from the valuation low."

He also predicted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average should make new highs soon based on Dow Theory. "Just about two weeks ago, you had an all-time high for the Dow [Industrials] and the Transports. So you got a confirmation."

The Dow Transports closed at a record high on Friday, and so did the S&P 500, finishing above 1,900 for the first time ever. The Dow Industrials are less than a percent away from their record close.

While stocks have been making new highs, bond yields have been defying expectations and heading lower. The 10-year Treasury yield is trading around 2.5 percent.

Robert Barbera, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Financial Economics, sees yields heading higher as the economy strengthens. "If we get that rate rise, we'll end the year with the bond yield actually unchanged and better [economic] growth. And that's a nice combination for equities."

But Mark Travis, head of Intrepid Capital Funds, expressed concern about the economy. "This economy has underwhelmed us. Usually when you get a deep recession, you get a higher bounce and recovery. We really just haven't seen that."

NYSE EuroNext flag hangs outside the NYSE.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
NYSE EuroNext flag hangs outside the NYSE.

Meanwhile, Alison Deans, senior advisor at Varick Asset Management, has been looking at the economy from the perspective of Corporate America.

"The one thing that's giving me hope has been all this merger activity," she told CNBC, adding it's a positive sign that companies are willing to part with some of the cash on their balance sheets.

"Companies are starting to feel confident and starting to spend their money. They're feeling better about the overall economy and earnings outlook," she said.

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—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere