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Why investors should be buying growth: Strategist

The U.S. is still in the middle of a longer-term economic expansion, so investors should be orienting their portfolios to take advantage of growth opportunities, Glenmede's director of investment strategy said Tuesday.

Economic data do not indicate any buildup of excess in the system, whether debt relative to recent years or excess momentum in industrial capacity spending and capacity utilization, Jason Pride said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"At this point in time, markets are maybe a little bit overvalued domestically, cheap internationally, but with this backdrop, this is still an environment where investors should be buying equities and investing in a growth manner going forward in the future," he said.

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Persistently low interest rates and falling energy prices have provided stimulus, but consumers are still still digging out from under the debt they accrued through 2009, Pride said. For that reason, consumers are not yet spending as one would expect at this point in the recovery.

At the same time, employment data are mixed. While unemployment has fallen to 5.3 percent, many people who want full-time work are stuck in part-time jobs.

But soft consumer spending and stubbornly high rates of marginalized workers will lead the Federal Reserve to take a conservative tack to the pace of interest rate increases, he said.

With economic data "OK" and no signs of inflation around the corner, Pride said the Fed's biggest risk is giving markets the impression that it will tighten monetary policy at a rapid rate.

"They're likely erring toward the side of undersurprise the market just by an ounce, enough to get point across that we're there, but we're not doing it so fast that you have to really worry that much," he said.

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With that in mind, investors should remain in stocks, said Craig Hodges, president and portfolio manager at Hodges Funds.

Parts of the market—including social media, biotechnology and some restaurants—are expensive, but the typical industrial company is trading at a low multiple, he said.

"You can find a lot of good growth companies. You can by their growth rate 10, 12, 15 times earnings. In the 30 years I've been doing this, that's a cheap multiple," he told "Squawk Box."

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