Q1 craziness could mean bullish bonanza

After a wild start to the year, stocks could be poised for big gains heading into the second quarter, according to one well-known strategist.

On CNBC's "Futures Now," Bespoke Investment Group co-founder Paul Hickey said Thursday that seasonally, we are entering a strong period for stocks. "Since 1980, the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of 2.7 percent with positive returns slightly more than 60 percent of the time," he said.

This could come as a relief to investors, as stocks were down more than 10 percent at one point in February, only to climb back to break even on the year. Despite the comeback, investors are still wary of the market as a recent AAII investor sentiment survey showed that sentiment has been steadily declining.

By Hickey's work, it's that very whipsaw action that could set the stage for huge returns through the rest of the year.

"As extraordinary as this move has been, we have seen similar moves in the past," Hickey explained. "We went back and looked at prior years where the S&P 500 saw 10 percent moves to both the upside and downside in the span of the first quarter … the S&P 500 has seen some big gains following similar first quarters of the year," he said.

Read More 5 risks that could surprise markets in the second quarter

He noted that the S&P 500 has seen an average gain of 28.3 percent for the remainder of the year with positive returns 75 percent of the time.

Of course, Hickey isn't necessarily calling for a 20 percent rally from current levels — which would theoretically put the S&P 500 at just under 2,500 — but he did say it was reason enough to be optimistic about the markets.

"I wouldn't necessarily use a 20 percent return as my baseline but it shows a positive trend," he said. "I think as long as the Fed maintains their stance I think that stocks can do well for the remainder of the year and the second quarter."

Correction: The story was updated to correct that the Hickey interview was Thursday.


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