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It's going to be a volatile year, but investors will make money, strategist predicts

Clemons: Investors will make money despite volatile year

Earnings will fuel the market higher in 2017, despite volatility coming out of Washington, strategist Scott Clemons told CNBC on Tuesday.

"In the long run, it's earnings that drive the market. That's the fuel," the chief investment strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

"It's going to be a volatile year, but when all is said and done, I think investors will make money."

That volatility may likely come in response to any mistakes of President-elect Donald Trump's new administration or any tweets he may send out, Clemons explained.

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Trump has a habit of taking to Twitter to make statements or call out companies. His latest attack is on General Motors, tweeting on Tuesday that the auto giant is making a Chevy Cruze model in Mexico and then sending the cars to U.S. dealers tax free.

GM responded by saying it makes most of its Cruze models in the United States and sells only a small number of one model made in Mexico to the U.S.

Clemons said in this environment, investors should look for companies that aren't necessarily subject to the political discourse coming out of Washington.

"It's important to own the shares of companies that have a greater-than-average degree of control over their own destinies, whether that's through the loyalty of customers, the provision of essential products and services, strong balance sheets," he noted.

Joe Quinlan, head of market and thematic strategy for global wealth and investment management at Bank of America, is betting that a year from now the will be up in the high single-digit area when dividends are thrown in.

"The U.S. economy is stronger than numbers suggest. So we're looking for a very constructive year, not only in an absolute but in a relative sense as well," he told "Power Lunch."

He specifically likes energy, financials materials and industrials. He would avoid any bond-proxy stocks, like telecom, because he thinks the Federal Reserve will raise rates two or three times this year.

"There's plenty of places to put money to work out there and kind of ignore the headlines or the tweets, for that matter," Quinlan said.

— CNBC's Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.