The next catalyst higher in the 6-year-old bull market in stocks needs to come from some place other than the Federal Reserve, strategist Jason Trennert said Friday. "The Fed is somewhat impotent," he said.
"Investors are looking for love in all the wrong places," Strategas Research Partners' chief investment strategist told CNBC's "Squawk Box." He said Washington needs to end the gridlock and put forth fiscal policies to spur the economy. "Monetary policy has been sterilized by regulatory policy," he said.
Trennert said it's difficult to be "really bullish" on stocks in the next year. "We're looking for $120 in earnings from [companies]," he said. "You put a 16 multiple on that, it's 1,920. You put a 17 multiple, it's 2,040. You're kind of there."
The S&P 500 closed Thursday at 2,023 following a powerful rally that put Wall Street on track for its third-straight winning week.
Historically, October may be one of the worst months for stocks, but not in recent years and not so far this month, which has seen the S&P 500 gain more than 5 percent.
On the year, however, the S&P 500 was down 1.7 percent as of Thursday's close, with the Dow Jones industrial average off twice as much in 2015.
In a separate interview, Dan Suzuki, senior U.S. equity at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told CNBC his outlook for stocks depends on time horizon.
"For longer-term investors, it's still a pretty good time to be invested in stocks," he said, citing what he see as "pretty reasonable" valuations probably yielding "reasonable returns."
But in the near term, he expressed caution. "We know we're going to have a lackluster third-quarter earnings season. This is the culmination of all the bad news."
Other headwinds, he said, were increasing concerns around a government shutdown and the debt ceiling as well as uncertainty surrounding when the Fed might hike rates for the first time in nine years.
However, he does see industrials, technology and energy as sectors that present the "best risk-reward."
In perhaps another optimistic, if contrarian sign, Trennert said: "One of the curious things about this bull market is ... there's actually been net redemptions from domestic equities."
"One of the things you normally see in a bull market top is that you have a big retail or individual investor participation," he said. "You haven't had that this time."
Last week, investors poured $2.5 billion into U.S.-based stock mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, after $8 billion in outflows the prior week, according to data firm Lipper.