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How experts are playing the market while they await the Fed decision

Fed countdown: To hike or not?

As the market awaits news about a Federal Reserve rate hike, experts are looking at ways to make money amid the uncertainty.

The central bank meets this week, but the market isn't pricing in a rate increase. However, market expectations for a move in December are at about 50 percent.

"While I do expect the Fed to be on hold this meeting, I think they will also use this opportunity to signal that a rate hike in December is a very high probability and as the market bakes that in, then I think the Fed will feel more comfortable going forward with that decision," Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott, told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Monday.

A New York Stock Exchange trader works as a television on the floor of the NYSE shows Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaking after the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. (File photo)
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

He advocates a barbell approach to investing — with a little bit of so-called safety plays like dividend-yielding stocks, as well as growth names.

However, while the growth sectors will do well regardless of the economic or interest rate underpinnings, he thinks investors should be somewhat careful with classic defensives. Not only are they sensitive to interest rates, they have been "bid up to the point that their valuations tolerate little room for error," Luschini said.

Charles Reinhard, head of portfolio strategy at MainStay Investments, has the odds of December hike at 50-50.

"They will go again. It will just be a very slow tightening cycle," he told "Power Lunch."

The good news, he said, is that there are things investors can do in the meantime — like looking into the "tremendous" opportunity in credit to generate income or partially election-proof their portfolios.

One way is to anchor portfolios with municipal bonds, the 10-year and longer part of the curve, Reinhard said. He specifically likes transportation and education bonds.

When it comes to equities, he prefers to find companies that are growing and making good capital allocation decisions— whether it is reinvesting in the company or returning money to shareholders. Names like Verizon and National Grid are two examples, said Reinhard.

Is the Fed out of bullets?

Meanwhile, Vadim Zlotnikov, chief market strategist at AB Global, is positive on the near-term market but is concerned about next year.

"At this point I think there are more tail winds than headwinds. But as we do approach '17, the danger signs start to flash much more loudly," he told "Power Lunch."

"If we don't see resurgence of capital spending, if we don't see a pickup in new business formation, I think the market could run out of steam," he noted.

CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.