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Keep buying despite 40% chance of recession: Pro

The environment for investing has seen a radical shift in sentiment this year but Beat Wittmann, partner at independent financial advisory firm Porta Advisors, is urging clients to buy more risk assets instead of worrying about a potential recession.

"Absolutely," he told CNBC Friday when asked whether investors should regain exposure to equities after a period of considerable outflows at the start of the year. His bullish call comes despite his belief that there's a sizeable chance of the world economy slipping into another recession.


Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

"I think ... the probability (of a recession) is 30 to 40 percent and then recession, what does recession mean really? Is it a soft landing?," he said.

The most likely scenario for Wittmann is a period of lower growth, low inflation and low interest rates rather than gross domestic product figures lurching into negative territory. He spoke of a "resilient" U.S. economy that would be able to withstand a lack of business confidence and reminded investors that a major tailwind for many countries is the low oil price.

An interest rate hike in the U.S., growth concerns over China and an eye-popping plunge in the price of oil have all added to jitters in global markets since the start of 2016. It was a brutal start to the year and investors just finding their footing after waves of selling.

The Dow Jones industrial average has flirted with correction territory but is now down 2.7 percent year-to-date after clawing back some losses. The S&P 500 has seen a similar pattern. The Russell 2000, meanwhile, is technically now out of bear market territory but has still seen a 17 percent fall from its 52-week high. The index is also on pace for its third straight positive week for the first time since its 3-week streak ending in June last year.

Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Wittmann has continued his bullish stance despite being wrong-footed in November 2015 when making a similar call on global markets. On November 10, the asset manager predicted to CNBC a stellar year-end rally in equities despite the U.S. Federal Reserve's expected hike of its benchmark interest rate off record lows. The pan-European Euro Stoxx 600 index actually lost 2.4 percent during that period, with the S&P 500 losing around 1.7 percent.

However, his call echoes the greater indecision and uncertainty in the investment community after years of monetary easing. Citi analysts claimed on February 5 that the global economy was seemingly trapped in a "death spiral" that could lead to further weakness in oil prices, recession and a serious equity bear market.

Meanwhile, strategists at Goldman Sachs believe that recession fears are creating an extended stock market sell-off and an opportunity for investors ready to pounce. They have also urged clients to bet against the recent rally in gold prices, saying that market moves have been an "overreaction."