US Markets

'New maestro' Yellen to hike interest rates in September: Strategist

Why the Fed still moves in September: Pro

Fed Chair Janet Yellen will likely oversee an interest rate increase next month, and markets won't be roiled, strategist Doug Cote predicted Monday.

"I call ... Janet Yellen the new maestro in a positive way because she's going to finesse this either way, no matter what happens," said Cote, chief market strategist at Voya Investment Management. He was referring to the nickname given to former Fed chair Alan Greenspan, who presided over the longest economic expansion in U.S. history.

"I believe in September she raises rates 25 basis points, she couches it in dovish language, everybody goes home happy," Cote told CNBC's "Squawk Box," "And she's been doing that. She has been finessing this market in every statement since she became Fed chair."

Read MoreStocks will be put to the test in week ahead

Market expectations for a September rate hike ticked up following Friday's jobs report, which showed the U.S added 215,000 jobs in July, roughly in line with consensus.

The CME FedWatch tool—which tracks market reaction on potential changes to the fed funds target rate—showed a 54 percent likelihood of a rate hike in September. It had indicated zero percent chance a week earlier after the Commerce Department's first reading on second quarter U.S. GDP growth came in light.

A monthly addition of 215,000 jobs is more than enough to keep the unemployment rate on a downward path, said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.3 percent in July.

"Unemployment is down almost a percentage point in the past year," he told "Squawk Box" on Monday. "Two-hundred-fifteen-thousand a month is 1.8 percent per year, which at one time was not very strong, given demographics. But now at best labor force growth is going to be 1 percent per year. The secular trend is 0.5 percent per year."

"The arithmetic is overwhelming that this is a strong rate of growth in employment relative to demographics, and their message is they will tighten if the labor market shows some further improvement, and the labor market is improving."