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With Fed on hold, keep buying stocks: Economist

Stocks are starting off the week by taking a break from this month's substantial rally, amid disappointing data about industrial activity and consumer sentiment, and potential anxiety over the Federal Reserve's Wednesday statement. But despite these concerns, along with a "mediocre" earnings season, one economist said he expects stocks will continue to grind higher.

Jerry Webman, chief economist of OppenheimerFunds, said there's no way the Federal Reserve will decide to raise interest rates in the October meeting. And for a December rate hike to come into play, economic data would have to strengthen significantly.

"They have no reason to move rates higher at this point," Webman said Tuesday on CNBC's "Futures Now." "I know they've got this lingering fear of financial stability somewhere being a problem. But they want to see the whites of its eyes before they start shooting."

And until central banks are well into tightening cycles, stocks will continue to see gains, Webman said.

The Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 are both down about half a percent this week. However, both major indices as well as the Nasdaq Composite are on track for the best monthly performance since October 2011.

"We had a great run up, I think there's some consolidation going on here," Webman said. "I think we're taking a little bit of a pause, obviously we've had a couple of disappointing economic releases in the last day, [but] not a big response to it."

Meanwhile, Webman said stocks are in a "show me" period as earnings continue to come in. But despite his bullish outlook on stocks, he said poor earnings results are still a concern.

"What we're learning is consumers are not spending yet, businesses are not investing, they're working off some inventories, so this kind of slow growth is still there," he said. "There are going to be some great winners here, but on a broad index base, it's hard to get too excited."

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