US Markets

Where bears got their marching orders: Pros

Concern about growth going forward: Pro

With the Dow closing Thursday's trading session 165 points down, the market's bears took their marching orders from a big rally in 10-year Treasury notes, the managing director of San Diego based investment firm HighTower told CNBC.

Treasury yields dropped below 2.50 percent for the first time since last October as prices rose, signaling to traders that the economy wasn't as sound as once believed, said David Molnar, a partner and managing director at HighTower. Molnar told investors to ignore the move under 2.50 percent "at your own peril."

"The bond market is signaling the economy is not as strong as Wall Street and economists were telling us it was going to be, and it's not just weather-related," Molnar said on "Closing Bell."

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Robert Pavlik, the chief market strategist for Banyan Partners, told CNBC on Thursday that worries about growth should persist throughout the summer. Some attributed Thursday's selloff to cautious comments from hedge fund titan David Tepper, who told investors Wednesday to not be "too fricking long right now."

"You can point to Europe being a concern," Pavlik said later on "Closing Bell." "You can point to the comments out of [David] Tepper, but I think it's really a concern about growth going forward. Is there going to be enough growth going forward to sustain this market at this level?"

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Pavlik said the ongoing rotation out of fast-growing tech and biotech stocks that made for volatile trading sessions in recent months was not a flow into value, dividend stocks. It was a flight to safety, he said, and now that trend has manifested in the bond market with dropping yields.

Hannelore Foerster | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The market could support its current record highs if two big things happen in the coming months, Pavlik said. Deal-making activity, such as the recent blockbuster moves in the pharmaceutical industry, needs to continue at a fast pace into this summer. That would give the greenlight to companies looking to make big capital expenditures, he said.

"Between now and that point you're going to see this increasing volatility," Pavlik said. "You're going to see this continued rotation. It's a rotation into safety, the large-cap mega-names. Everybody who's been claiming, 'Oh, this value rotation' I think is a little bit off."

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The move in Treasurys didn't inspire bearishness in everyone. The chief investment officer for U.S. Bank's wealth management group, Tim Leach, told CNBC he remains optimistic for stocks. And Congress Asset Management Company's Peter Andersen said the bond market wasn't accurately gauging the economy.

Andersen said yields should come in at 3 or 3.5 percent to better reflect the U.S. economy.

"The market can be driven by two different things—emotion and intellect. And right now, sad to say, it's all emotion," he said on "Closing Bell. "It's up to us to get a little bit more rational and say things aren't as bad as they seem to be."

—By CNBC's Jeff Morganteen. Reuters contributed to this report.