Art Cashin: Global growth concerns weigh on markets

There are several factors dragging down markets, Art Cashin said. China was a standout among global indexes, ending higher after slightly better-than-expected manufacturing data; however, the rest of the world is lower amid weak European data and geopolitical concerns.

"What happened in Asia you have to discount a little bit because some of those markets were closing before the ISIS reports came out," said Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the NYSE. "That's [airstrikes] clearly influenced some of the European trading."

Traders took a flight-to-safety approach early in the day with gold, oil and bonds rising as geopolitical concerns mounted after airstrikes in Syria against the terrorist group ISIS.

Cashin pointed to growth concerns in China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, respectively, as more reason for the lackluster performance. "The world economy is not exactly booming here," he added.

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The U.S. appears to be doing better than most when it comes to global growth. Third-quarter earnings will start trickling in next month, which should give more indication as to the strength of corporate America and demand abroad.