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Why American investors can’t ignore the crisis in Europe

By all indications, the European economy is in a tailspin. And that could translate into serious problems for American investors.

Markets across Europe were slammed on Tuesday after Germany reported its worst monthly industrial output decline since 2009. On the same day, the International Monetary Fund cut its European growth outlook for 2014 and 2015, and said there was an increased chance that the euro zone will re-enter a recession. Those jitters traveled across the Atlantic and took its toll in the U.S., where the S&P lost 1.5 percent.

But while three of Europe's most important indexes—the German DAX, the British FTSE 100 and French CAC 40—are all in the red for 2014, America's S&P 500 index is still up almost 5 percent on a year-to-date basis.

(Watch: IMF cuts global growth forecast)

Now the big question is whether Europe's woes will continue to take a toll on U.S. markets.

"That's a huge divergence and I don't see any signs of that correcting anytime soon," said Jason Rotman of Lido Isle Advisors, who still favors U.S. equities over European stocks.

(See: CNBC's European News coverage)

But Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global, says American investors can't ignore what's happening in Europe.

Sanchez says that European companies hold more debt than U.S. companies, and adds that the European Central bank won't be able to do much to help that.

Where Sanchez differs from Rotman is the extent to which she believes a European slowdown threatens U.S. stocks.

"40 to 50 percent of profits that come into the S&P [500] companies come from abroad," said Sanchez, a CNBC contributor. "This is a tough time. It does boomerang back to the S&P, and I do think it actually could pull it down."

To see the full discussion on European and U.S. markets, watch the above video.

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