NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Bond yields may have reached their highest level in six months, but that doesn't necessarily mean investors think the Federal Reserve will lift rates sooner, according to at least one strategist.
"It's hard to argue that just because bond yields are back up, people are expecting some type of move from the Fed," said Ian Winer, head of equity trading at Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities. "The consensus is still September and the Fed is still data dependent. My guess is that most people agree a June rate hike is off the table and I agree with that."
While Winer doesn't attribute Tuesday's bond selloff to the Fed, the central bank's actions have rocked the bond market in the past. Yields rose in June 2013 when former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke spooked markets, saying quantitative easing would be scaled back if economic data improved.
Yields rose again in December 2013, at one point eclipsing 3%, when the Fed announced it would taper its bond stimulus, which had propped up stock markets.
Almost two years later, investors are still obsessing over the central bank -- this time concerned with when it will lift short-term interest rates for the first time since 2006. Low rates, like quantitative easing, have been a boon for stocks.
Winer chalks up the selloff in bonds to investors' simply unwinding assets. "We've seen a very crowded trade getting unwound," he said. "People are looking to pack in whatever gains they have on the year. If you're long bonds, you decide you don't want to go flat on the year and instead sell and book some gains." Bond yields and prices move inversely.
Meanwhile, Winer stresses the importance of investing with caution. "Investors need to continue to be very, very careful as far as what they own," he said. "A lot of retail-driven names, like Twitter (TWTR), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Whole Foods (WFM) have been decimated when they've had bad quarters."
He said it's important to look for legitimate reasons as to why you own a particular stock, such as strong dividends. "But as far as high-growth names, which may not be that high growth, you need to be careful."