US Markets

Fears behind Aug sell-off returning in Nov: Analysts

Markets eye slow global growth and Fed

The U.S. stock market remains well above the lows of the late summer sell-off, but fears about Chinese growth and commodity trends are keeping investors on edge, strategists told CNBC on Friday.

Add to the equation the prospect of an interest rate hike in December, and it's no wonder markets are stalling, they said.

The major U.S. stock averages on Thursday had their worst day since the end of September, when equities retested their August lows. The Dow Jones industrial average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all fell more than 1 percent.

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Traders are still grappling with "tremendous concern" about growth in China, Ed Keon, managing director at Quantitative Management Associates, said Friday. 

China's decision to devalue its currency — at least in part seen as a bid to shore up its exports — sparked the sell-off in August. On Wednesday, Chinese industrial output data fell short of expectations, raising fresh fears about the world's No. 2 economy. 

"There is remaining concern about global growth, and it does seem to be slow and, if anything, heading slower," Keon told CNBC's "Squawk Box." "Right now it seems to me the market is still very nervous about growth and also very nervous that the Fed may move and that may have a negative impact."

Consensus is forming around the notion that the U.S. central bank's policymaking committee will raise interest rates for the first time in more than nine years at its December meeting, after a better-than-expected October jobs report.

Fresh signs of commodity weakness Thursday underscored growth concerns, Keon said. U.S. crude settled at a 2 ½-month low, while copper hit its weakest level since July 2009. Both commodities are seen as signs of industrial demand.

That trading was stirring memories of the sell-off and subsequent pullback in September from a brief rally, Bill Stone, chief investment strategist at PNC Institutional Asset Management, said Friday.

"You see at least some part of that August, September in here where you are seeing the commodities trend down, dollar trending up. You can put it on a chart and see those all kind of move in the same direction," he told "Squawk Box."

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U.S. stocks are fairly priced at present, but future valuations will depend on corporate profit and revenue growth, Keon said. Right now, corporate earnings for 2015 look like they will be fairly flat, he noted. 

"I think you're going to get positive returns out of stocks. This is still a bull market, but it's in the latter phases of the bull market and the returns from here on out are going to be relatively weak," Keon said.