‘Shameless’ bears are ignoring strong growth signals: Phil Orlando

Federated Investors’ top market watcher is calling long-time bears “shameless.”

According to Phil Orlando, they’re guilty of putting extreme negativity ahead of strong economic fundamentals.

“Toxic sentiment is what drove the market down so sharply during the month of December,” the firm’s chief equity strategist said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Futures Now.” “Last Friday was a critical day. We got a blowout jobs number across the board.”

Orlando cites the strong employment numbers as a key signal economic growth is intact.

He predicts it’s a factor that will move to the forefront by April — once uncertainty surrounding Federal Reserve policy, the U.S.-China trade war and Brexit moves to the back burner.

“If the Fed seems to be in place, if we can get this China trade situation resolved, and if we can get some clarity in terms of what’s going on in Europe, then I think we could be off to the races in the back nine months of the year,” said Orlando, who believes the issues will be successfully resolved.

He has a 3,100 year-end price target on the S&P 500. It would bring the S&P above its record high of 2,940.91.

Despite his bullishness, Orlando cautions investors that wild market swings will likely persist.

“There could be a lot of market volatility in between now and then,” said Orlando. “We had a fabulous rally here off of 2,350. Maybe you’ve got some resistance at 2,600. We could very easily retest that 2,300 level at some point over the next two months or so,” said Orlando. “We could be off to the races in the back nine months of the year.”

The S&P 500 closed at 2,574.41 on Tuesday. It’s up 3 percent in the past week.