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Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 5, 2016.Reuters

With global stocks poised to advance only modestly over the rest of the year, investors can boost their returns by buying the next dip, Citigroup Global Markets said in a report.

Global equities currently seem contained to a trading range, with the appeal of yield providing the floor and declining earnings the ceiling.

Within that pattern, Citi's analysts say they are reassured by the bank's "bear market checklist."

"While it doesn't have a view on chasing the current rally, it is still inclined to buy the next dip," the report said.

The checklist monitors 18 different market indicators measuring global equity valuation, sentiment, corporate behaviour, profitability, and credit conditions.

"Our checklist told us to hold our nerve in 2011-12. It told us to do the same last August and this January," the report said. "It will not tell us that there is a 15-20 per cent correction in global equities coming. But it will tell us what to do when that correction happens."

The model is currently flashing just four of 18 possible sell signals. Among them is the dwindling of global profit growth, which caught analysts by surprise. A year ago, analysts were expecting a 13-per-cent increase in global earnings per share (EPS) for 2016. The latest forecast is 3 per cent.

"The risks to EPS forecasts remain to the downside," Citi said.

On the other hand, stocks remain attractive compared to fixed income. The MSCI All-Country World Index yields about 2.7 per cent, compared to a yield of about 1.7 per on U.S. 10-year treasuries.