Bob Doll: Rate hike in June? No big deal

Nuveen Asset Management's Bob Doll said Thursday he's betting the Federal Reserve will embark on the first of two anticipated interest rate hikes in June.

Some Fed watchers believe policymakers will remain on hold next month because the Federal Open Market Committee's June meeting comes just about one week before Britain goes to the polls to vote on whether to leave the European Union.

But Doll said he believes U.K. voters will choose the devil they know and stay in the EU, reducing the risk of overseas disturbances that could keep the Fed on hold.

"My guess is we'll get the June [rate hike] and it's not going to be that big a deal," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"It would be a whopping one-half of 1 percent from 25 to 50" basis points, he said sarcastically.

If the Fed does remain on hold next month, it may hike rates the following month and then again later in the year, perhaps in December, he said. U.S. central bank policymakers have indicated they expect to raise rates twice this year.

The magnitude of the impact from a June rate rise will largely depend on currency movements, Doll said.

"If currency behaves itself, then I think the market will be fine because what it will be signaling … is that the world is healing and doing a little bit better," he said.

The dollar index has fallen about 5 percent this year after a runup that began in 2014.

Doll also said the advanced reading of first-quarter U.S. GDP, which showed disappointing 0.5 percent growth, would only keep the Fed on hold if one assumes that preliminary figure is correct. He said he expects second-quarter GDP growth to rise to about 2.5 percent.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Morning Squawk

CNBC's before the bell news roundup
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services.
By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.