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Investors lay bets for sector wins in 2016

As global capital seeks greater returns in a safe environment, the market is going to rise at least 5 percent and maybe as much as 8 percent between here and March, said Hank Mulvihill, principal at Mulvihill Asset Management.

"Global capital can come to the United States and be extremely well treated," he said, speaking to CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Wednesday. "If you had 100 billion euro to invest at a negative interest rate, in a declining currency, wouldn't you invest it in the U.S.?"

Despite headwind challenges to the market this year, the economy is doing better than has been suggested, and individual sectors are doing well, said Gene Peroni, a senior vice president with Advisors Asset Management. He pegs the Dow at 19,000 for the first quarter in 2016, forecasting double-digit returns for the next year. The Dow traded just over 17,500 Wednesday afternoon.

"We're really establishing a platform for the market to move higher," Peroni said.

A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Lucas Jackson | Reuters
A trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Labeling big-cap tech as an "extraordinary" sector, Mulvihill forecasts that giants Amazon and Alphabet will supplant Apple in the upcoming year. Although he predicts that Apple will continue to be a very "large, dominant cash flowing company," Amazon and Alphabet are growing at a faster rate.

"80 percent Android, 20 percent iOS; I think that puts that conversation to rest" he said. "Amazon dominates everything it touches and will continue to grow; and I think that Amazon ends up being the world's largest company."

Other investors are eyeing energy for a rebound in 2016. Energy rose more than 3.5 percent Wednesday, leading all S&P 500 sectors higher. Chevron and Exxon Mobil were among the top contributors to the gains.

Still, Darin Richards, chief investment officer at AKT Wealth Advisors, says he will continue to shy away from the energy sector due to low valuations. He suggests investors opt for other sectors in the market.

"There's a lot of opportunity elsewhere when you look at the growth stocks: consumer discretionary, great consumer market right now, health care, technology," he said. "There are areas in the market that are holding up well, and we'd rather stay there than kind of go bottom-fishing right now."

—CNBC's Evelyn Cheng contributed to this report.