US Markets

Don’t expect a market trend to emerge for a while: Bob Doll

Bob Doll: We need better earnings

Investors should not expect a clear road forward as cross currents in the markets continue to make for a confusing time, strategist Bob Doll said Friday.

"The noise in the bond market, the noise in the currency market is all about transition, if you will, from the first half to the second half of the economic cycle, transferring growth from only the U.S. to a little bit more globally," Nuveen Asset Management's chief equity strategist told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"My view is we're going to have a lot of choppiness without a lot of trend for a while," Doll said.

U.S. equity markets have held up well considering how weak corporate earnings were in the first quarter, but companies need to perform better in the second quarter if stocks are to move any higher, he said.

Doll sees that happening based on his expectations for better job and wage numbers, and as consumers finally spend some of the energy dividend they have thus far saved.

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The absence of rapidly rising inflation and interest rates should prevent price-to-earnings ratios—a key indicator of potential growth in equity prices—from contracting.

"Therefore, I think we can hold these relatively high P/Es, and the market goes higher if and only if earnings go up," Doll said.

European companies and multinationals will probably continue to perform well as a weaker euro supports demand for the continent's products and fiscal stimulus stokes growth, he said. However, Europe still has fiscal and monetary issues, a population that is topping out and a banking system that is undercapitalized in Doll's view.

In the long-term, he sees the United States outperforming Europe, but at the moment Europe is playing catch up.

"Our demographics allow us to do better than Europe, but still not good enough. We're going to need some policy changes around regulation and taxation in order to have a shot at three plus rather than three minus," he said, referring to economic growth percent.

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