As this up-and-down year for stocks comes to a close, market watchers told CNBC on Monday that future gains will be tied to the corporate earnings.
Charles Kantor, head of the Kantor Group at Neuberger Berman, said on "Squawk Box" the comeback over the last month has been down to a better-than-expected earnings season. "Earnings are up 9 percent versus a year ago. When you started the cycle, you thought you'd get 4 percent."
It's going to be an earnings-driven market going forward now that the Federal Reserve has ended its latest quantitative easing bond-buying and poised to start hiking interest rates sometime next year, Kantor added.
Richard Bernstein, chief executive officer of the firm that bears his name, said he does not see trouble on the monetary policy front. "We're more in the camp that the economy is beginning to go on its own that it really doesn't need QE as would the economy in any other midcycle environment," he continued, pointing to high levels of consumer confidence as a positive for companies.
For the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 6 percent as of Friday's close. The S&P 500 is up nearly 10 percent in 2014. Both indexes head into Monday's session on the back of three straight weeks of gains.