NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- This week's meeting of Federal Reserve policy makers will result in vigorous debate between the inflation hawks and the doves, but likely no change in policy, according to Kristina Hooper, U.S. investment Strategist at Allianz Global.
The doves in this case are those who favor an accommodative monetary policy with low interest rates, while the hawks would prefer to raise interest rates sooner and rein in the loose money policies we've seen since the financial crash.
Hooper points out that over the past few weeks, there has been a dramatic improvement in economic data, including solid reports on jobs and retail sales, leading to a better economic outlook for the second quarter and beyond. Hooper said the debate over how much the economy has improved will be countered by international concerns, such as whether or not Greece will reach an agreement to restructure its debt or default.
Hooper noted that both the IMF and World Bank have asked the Fed not to raise rates this year. She expects the Fed will not raise rates until September, which in her opinion would be a good time to make an initial move, after which the Fed could observe how it impacts the economy and markets.
Hooper believes the Fed is in a hurry to do that first rate hike, but won't necessarily feel as much urgency about subsequent increases. Between this Fed meeting and the one in September, she expects markets will be in a holding pattern, with some volatility. She said there will be more differentiation between stocks based on fundamentals, rather than broad market moves based on monetary policy, and more rotation among investing styles and asset classes.
Hooper currently sees a lot of opportunity in the technology sector, where earnings growth has exceeded the overall market. She also likes the health care sector, particularly pharmaceutical and biotechnology stocks. In both health care and technology, she sees companies delivering top-line growth. She added that even though valuations have gotten stretched in consumer discretionary stocks, there are some opportunities, especially among lower-end retailers.