The Federal Reserve won't be pulling the trigger for quite some time, according to BNP Paribas.
"We've seen a lot of Fed commentators come out recently and [they] have been more dovish," said Stewart Warther, a U.S. equity and derivatives strategist at BNP Paribas, based in New York.
"We've actually lowered our Fed hike forecast to zero hikes for 2016 and 2017. Recent market volatility has taken away the window for the Fed to hike."
Going forward, Warther expects the economy to grow at trend, which results on slower wage gains. "You're not going to see a reason for the Fed to hike." More dovish sentiment from the central bank's next policy meeting in March would spawn a positive reaction from stocks, he says.
Investors are pricing in a 6% chance of a rate liftoff in March and a 25% probability of a hike at the Fed's June meeting. The Fed raised short-term interest rates for the first time in nearly 10 years at its December meeting, roughly two months ago. Though he said the Fed is still grappling with its rate-hike decisions.
"I think they're going to look at the February nonfarm payrolls as the last indicator and then going forward they're likely to at least maintain the rhetoric that they're data dependent."
The aforementioned markets volatility over the past few months has largely been driven by a steep decline in oil prices, which fell 19% since the start of the year. The broad S&P 500 dropped 5.7% during the same time.
"There's some resolution needed between stocks, the Fed and oil," he said, adding that he sees a leaky floor in oil prices at around $30 a barrel. The closely watched commodity is trading under $32 a barrel.
"On the upside, there really isn't a sharp positive catalyst, given that production cuts have been slower than many have expected," Warther said. That doesn't bode too well for stocks, which have been moving in lockstep with crude prices for the past few months.