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It's a good time to bet against stocks, portfolio manager says

While the market anticipates both the outcome of a historic election and a possible December interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, it's a good time to be playing the short game, one portfolio manager told CNBC.

"If you have shorts or the ability to short, it's probably a good time to have some out there," Chris Retzler, who co-manages the Needham Growth Fund, said Wednesday on "Squawk Box."

Retzler said his firm is watching what it believes are companies with poor management and the broader market, when it comes to shorting, or betting that certain stocks and indexes will go lower.

On the upside, the portfolio manager said he's watching small-cap stocks.

As earnings seasons kicks off this week, more upside surprises are likely, Steven Wieting, global chief investment strategist at Citi Private Bank, said Wednesday on "Squawk Box."

Such surprises have occurred after every quarter since 2009, Wieting said, so the third quarter of this year should be no different.

The strategist was positive about third-quarter earnings. "We are about to see a resumption of broad, if moderate, gains and earnings for the whole market, and that's where we stand on third quarter and beyond."

Wieting and Retzler both said the market is looking forward to a Federal Reserve rate hike.

So far, the stability from low rates has been enough for the market to function, Wieting said, but a rate increase would revitalize certain areas of the market, such as the utilities sector.