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Worried about the U.S. economy? UBS' Art Cashin said you should be.
"If corporations start to pull back and say 'I don't want to advance anything; I don't want to hire anybody,' we could slide into a recession," Cashin told CNBC's "Squawk Alley " on Tuesday.
Earnings season unofficially began last week, with Alcoa posting mixed quarterly results. Since then, a slew of financial companies — including JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Wells Fargo — have reported mixed results.
Phil Camporeale, portfolio manager at JPMorgan Asset Management, disagreed with Cashin's recessionary views. "Companies are afraid of their own shadow right now," he told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street " on Tuesday.
"This market is pricing in way too much of a recession risk than we believe. We believe the S&P should be around 1,900. Usually in a recession, you get a 30 percent decline from the high, which would put the S&P at 1,500. If there is no recession, we should probably make new highs this year, which is probably about 2,200," he said.
Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the NYSE, also said investors need to keep an eye on oil prices. "Oil is ruling the market. If WTI breaks $29, there's going to be pressure back on the markets."
West Texas Intermediate futures closed at $28.46 a barrel Tuesday, erasing initial gains and falling 3.3 percent.
Oil, as well as global equities, have been under pressure amid global growth concerns. China's weak manufacturing data to begin the year sent stocks into flux, as investors trimmed risky positions. On Tuesday, however, the Chinese government reported economic data that were largely in line with expectations.
Investors in the U.S. saw the data as favorable, sending the three major indexes up more than 1 percent at session highs.
Nonetheless, U.S. equities failed to hold on to gains. The Dow Jones industrial average was up slightly in late trading after gaining 183.88 points at its highs.
"I think what we're dealing with here is that for 25 years we've been growing the economy and structuring the economy around one big engine of growth, and that is Chinese economic growth," Jeff Rosenberg, chief investment strategist for fixed income at BlackRock, told "Squawk on the Street" on Tuesday.
"That pattern is changing. Today's data is validation of what we've all known, which is the economy and structure in China is transitioning. The bigger issue for the markets in 2016 is whether or not financial markets are fully pricing in the consequences of that transition. The collapse in oil prices is a reflection of that transition."