BMO’s Belski: Market’s going to ‘meander higher’

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The U.S. stock market will extend this rally, but will not rise at the same quick pace it has for the last month, the chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets said Monday.

“Remember, we came out this year and said it was going to be volatile, we were going to have a pullback to 1,800. We got that. Now we’re going to meander higher,” Brian Belski told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “It doesn’t mean it’s going to be straight up from here. It just means that, as the fundamentals of the U.S. economy continue to improve, we think that earnings and GDP are going to be especially strong in the second half of the year.”

U.S. equities have made a roaring comeback in the last month, with the benchmark S&P 500 gaining 11.7 percent since hitting its Feb. 11 intraday low of 1,810.10.

“We’ve had a nice recovery,” Belski said. “Everybody’s now kind of waiting for the pullback.”

Stocks began the year in free fall, as the three major indexes quickly fell into correction territory amid a sell-off in oil prices, as well as concerns of a global economic slowdown.

Stephen Freedman, senior investment strategist at UBS Wealth Management Research, said in another “Squawk Box” interview that “we’ve gotten over a pretty severe growth scare.”

“When China started pulling all the stops, there were concerns that this thing could unravel significantly in emerging markets and have some spillover effects onto the U.S. and Europe. I think we now have enough data points to really substantiate that is not going to be the case,” he said.

U.S. stocks opened lower on Monday as investors prepared for the Federal Reserve‘s two-day meeting, scheduled to begin Tuesday.

“The Fed, just like at the beginning of the year, is going to be an issue. A month ago, the Fed hiking this year was out of the question,” Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, said Monday. “Now we’re back to 50-50 in June, and greater than 50-50 in July.”

The probability of the central bank raising rates this week is zero, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

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