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JPMorgan Private Bank CIO: Investors are overthinking this

The best thing investors can do is buy stocks right now, as long as they manage their return expectations, the chief investment officer of JPMorgan Private Bank said Thursday.

Specifically, the firm is focused in global markets this year, as well as mid-cap stocks in the U.S., said Richard Madigan, who oversees $1 trillion in assets.

"People are overthinking the dynamic of growth. It's slower. Valuations, they're high but not too bubbly and most portfolio returns are going to be driven by equity markets," he told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Madigan likes technology, health care and consumer discretionary stocks in the U.S., noting that overall "we're doing OK for earnings."

While the Street was expecting a negative quarter, earnings growth for S&P 500 companies were up 3 percent so far, and 11 percent without energy stocks, he said.

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He also doesn't think the recent rout in the energy sector will determine the overall direction of the market at this point. Energy is down about 20 percent from recent peaks, said Madigan, and investors tend to get nervous when it falls 25 to 30 percent.

"In this trading range, I think we manage through it," he said.

For Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman, the volatility in energy means opportunity.

"The market is good at throwing out whole sectors like they did with energy," he said. "That collapse in prices creates opportunities where there are companies that have competitive advantages, even in a lower-priced environment."

Overall, Clemons thinks the bull market is in jeopardy. Therefore, he's cautious and said he's happy to leave cash on the sidelines.

However, David Spika, global investment strategist at Guidestone Funds, thinks once the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and that uncertainty is gone, the market will respond positively.

"We've been waiting and waiting and waiting for the Fed to begin the normalization of rates," he said. "I think investors will take some comfort in that and we'll see start to see stocks move a little more constructively forward."

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Spika is favorable on consumer discretionary stocks, noting that low unemployment, low oil prices and a strong dollar mean an ideal environment for consumers.

"We think consumer spending will continue to expand from here. We see rising wages, and that sets up perfectly for good performance in the consumer discretionary sector," he said.

—CNBC's Jennet Chin contributed to this report.

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