Recent bond-yield creep is start of something: Pros

Desperately seeking market catalysts

The modest increase in bond yields during the past few sessions is indicative of the trend for the rest of the year, two market watchers told CNBC on Tuesday.

"At the end of the year, rates will end up somewhere around 3 percent to 3.25 percent," predicted Darrell Cronk, deputy chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank. "I think it will move fast when [economic] growth picks up in the second half of the year."

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In a "Squawk Box" interview, Joseph Tanious, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, agreed with Cronk that yields will go higher.

"Not only is growth improving, but you have the largest buyer of Treasurys every single month [the Federal Reserve], basically telling you they are going to take a step back and stop making these purchases at some point this year," Tanious said.

That's what many people on Wall Street said at the beginning of the year. And they were wrong.

For the first five months of 2014, the 10 year Treasury yield was down about 16 percent. It had been down more than 20 percent just a few days ago, before the 10-year yield started creeping higher.

The Fed has already scaled back its monthly bond purchases by $40 billion installments over four months. The current pace of buying is down to $45 billion a month. Central bank policymakers meet later this month.

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Both Tanious and Cronk expect Friday's employment report to show that more than 200,000 jobs were created in May. The consensus estimate is calling for 210,000—following the 288,000 nonfarm payroll increase in April.

"It's been building consecutively every month. And that bodes well for the second half of the year," Cronk said.

Against that backdrop, Tanious said he sees stocks grinding higher, though it might be "a bit painful."

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere