February's market jitters should be seen as a 'wake-up call': Credit Suisse

  • Investors should see February's market jitters as a wake-up call that some risks still exist in an otherwise strong economy, according to Credit Suisse's global chief investment officer.
  • Market volatility was likely triggered by fears of inflation, he added.
  • In February, U.S. stocks sold off as investors became nervous that rising wage pressure and inflation could force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates higher than what was expected.

Investors should see February's market jitters as a wake-up call that some risks still exist in an otherwise strong economy, according to Credit Suisse's global chief investment officer.

Speaking to CNBC at the bank's Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong, he said: "The jitters of February was a little bit of a wake-up call. I wouldn't say an alarm clock, but a wake-up call that yeah, this economy is really strong, but there are other things in this Goldilocks that may actually surprise."

A Goldilocks economy means economic conditions are neither too hot to suggest overheating, nor too cold to raise concerns.

"The volatility seems to have been triggered by fears of inflation," Strobaek added.

In February, U.S. stocks sold off as investors became nervous that rising wage pressure and inflation could force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates higher than what was expected.

On Wednesday, the Fed raised rates in a widely expected move. That came with another upgrade in the Fed's economic forecast and a hint that the path of rate hikes could be more aggressive.

Strobaek said the Fed's moves were in line with the investment bank's expectations — Credit Suisse predicted four rate hikes, including the one from Wednesday.

"We feel quite confirmed," he said. "I take it to be mildly dovish to be honest ... we take note that they actually sort of probably even would allow inflation to overshoot a bit. Dollar got a bit weak, long rates got a bit higher, yield curve got a bit steeper. That's all quite growth asset positive."

He also said that Credit Suisse remained overweight on the tech sector, despite the ongoing controversy surrounding Facebook and a data analytics firm.

People in general would start to think more about what is happening to the data they generate online and how it is being used — that might affect business models of some of the companies. "But I wouldn't be overly concerned here and now about it," he added.

"Tech automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning — this is here to stay and my view is that the speed of change is actually accelerating and probably we haven't seen anything yet of what is to come," Strobaek concluded.

— CNBC's Patti Domm and Jeff Cox contributed to this report.