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Choppy stock trading to spill into Q2, experts say

A choppy first quarter of trading concludes on Tuesday, but most indications point to continued uncertainty in the second quarter and beyond, market watchers said on Monday.

"It seems to me as if investors are saying, 'I want to embrace more defensiveness and at the same time I'll take what I can get now. I'm not going to worry about what I can get later on,' " said Sam Stovall, managing director of U.S. equity strategy at S&P Capital IQ, in a CNBC "Closing Bell" interview.

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The three major U.S. indices jumped more than 1 percent higher on Monday but sat barely positive near the end of an up-and-down quarter. As investors eye indications of when the Federal Reserve will start to normalize interest rates and digest potentially disappointing first-quarter corporate profits, markets will stay shaky in April and beyond, said Jeff Kilburg, founder and CEO of KKM Financial.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Stocks have been "bipolar" and will likely see a pullback in the coming months, Kilburg said.

"I think people are getting really cautious and preparing for this summer because there's going to be more and more tumult," he said.

Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede Trust Co., said markets remain on "life support" as the Fed sustains a near-zero interest rate environment. He believes stocks look overvalued but will continue to move higher in the long-term.

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Aggregate indices hold no value in the current market, said Anastasia Amoroso, global market strategist at JPMorgan Funds. Individual stocks or sectors provide the best opportunity currently, she said.

She added that consumer-driven stocks, including automotive and home builder names, will likely see the best growth for the rest of the year.