Early Fed rate hike good for stocks: Pros

Expert predicts 3.5% GDP on back half of year

As the great interest rate debate rages inside the Federal Reserve, two senior portfolio managers told CNBC on Monday that any accelerated start to normalizing monetary policy would actually be good for stocks.

Perhaps counterintuitively, the market would welcome a rate hike before the expected time frame of next summer.

"When the Fed eventually begins to raise the [federal] funds rate next year, that in our view is not the death knell of this rally," Federated Chief Equity Strategist Phil Orlando said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "The market is going to appreciate the fact that [that] … must mean the economy is starting to normalize for the first time in seven or eight years.

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"That's good news for equity investors," Orlando added—a sentiment echoed by Nuveen Asset Management's Bob Doll.

An earlier-than-expected Fed rate move would signal "the economy and earnings are getting better a little faster than previously thought," Doll said. "Equities are going higher as long as the economy and earnings are growing."

He sees the economy growing 3 percent for the year. Orlando said he's focusing on second half GDP growth of 3.5 percent.

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On Friday, stocks pushed higher as Fed Chair Janet Yellen expressed a dovish view on policy during her address to the central bank's Jackson Hole symposium. But she also said the Fed was getting closer to meeting its objectives, while outlining both sides of the economic debate on labor slack.

As the Fed gears up on rates, it's continuing to wind down the latest round of bond buying. At last month's meeting, policymakers reduced purchases by $10 billion to $25 billion a month, with a path to ending this quantitative easing altogether in October.

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere