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Expect pullback this summer: Strategist

Investors should expect a 3 to 5 percent pullback in stocks this month into July, with the S&P 500 falling back to 2,000 by mid-July, veteran strategist Nick Colas said Tuesday.

"There's a couple of things that really worry us. The first is we see a very real chance of a disappointing [jobs] number on Friday," the chief market strategist at Convergex said in an interview on "Power Lunch."

His firm thinks only 150,000 to 185,000 jobs were added to the economy in May, well below Wall Street's consensus of 225,000, he added. That would signal the second-quarter economy is still weak.

"We are also still facing an earning recession where negative comps appear both in Q1 and Q2 for S&P 500 earnings," said Colas.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Getty Images
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Lastly, he's concerned that the uncertainty surrounding when the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates will create more volatility in the market.

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Because of that, he'd be selective when choosing which stocks to buy and thinks utilities are a good defensive group for the month of June and part of July. He also likes mid-cap stocks, as well as consumer staples over consumer discretionary.

Bob Landry, portfolio manager at USAA, thinks the market will still move higher, although he said investors should have tempered expectations.

"We're not going to see stock returns like we've seen in the last three years, double-digit type returns, but I think it's still reasonable to expect low to mid-single digit total returns," he said.

Meanwhile, Lamar Villere, portfolio manager at Villere & Co, believes small-cap stocks are "absolutely" the place to be right now.

"We'd much prefer to be in small caps, which have the opportunity to grow, rather than in some of the large, mature companies that really don't have a whole lot of runway."

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However, he pointed out that Villere & Co is not broadly buying small caps, noting that they are stock pickers.

Jack Ablin, executive vice president and chief investment officer of BMO Private Bank, on the other hand, likes large caps.

Small caps are trading at nearly 40 percent above their median historical levels on a price to sales basis, he noted.

"We are well overweight in large caps and almost maximally underweight in small," he said.

In addition, when the Federal Reserve starts to raise interest rates, it won't telegraph its entire rate path and will instead try to create some uncertainty, said Ablin.

"That's going to bring that equity risk premium up and that's where small caps in particular, relative to large, are going to get hit."