"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.