Deja vu market different this time

The market backdrop is setting up stocks for more gains this year, Charles Schwab's Jeffrey Kleintop said Thursday.

"People are starting to ask what to buy again," Kleintop told CNBC's "Worldwide Exchange." "It's been a long time since I've heard that, but I do remember echoes of it back in October of last year, when we had a similar pattern in the markets."

Last year, the S&P 500 spiked from its August lows but lost steam in late fall into the end of 2015.

In 2016, stocks had their worst start to a year ever, but have been climbing out of the basement since the Feb. 11 bottom.

"I think it's going to be different this time," said Kleintop, Schwab's chief global investment strategist. "The dollar strength has faded, commodities have begun to stabilize, and global growth looks a little better."

Kleintop said his investors are showing way more optimism. "When you speak to them, there's a question about risks and opportunity. They've been balanced to the risk side lately," he said. "That's shifted back towards opportunity."

The opportunity du jour seems to be in emerging markets, he said, with Brazil and India as particularly bright spots. "Things are looking a bit firmer overseas, and that could really change that trajectory for the dollar going forward."

The dollar was on track for its weakest quarter in five years. "It wouldn't be surprising to see a return of a little bit of strength to the dollar that can create more volatility," he said.

Kleintop and his team at Schwab are steering investors toward financials and tech, but not to utilities and telecom, despite their strength. He's also underwhelmed by health care.

"The health-care sector is a very legislative and regulatory affected sector," Kleintop said. "Given everything that's going on with the election season, it's a sector that could still be under pressure all the way up to the election."

European stocks have bounced back, but Kleintop said there's still room for growth.

"We need [to] get profit growth before we can really see stronger performance out of the global markets," he said. "But I don't think this rebound is going to roll right back over and give up all of its gains."