The market is upset and it's not about earnings: Veteran trader Art Cashin

  • There are several things weighing on the market, but it isn't this earnings season, closely followed trader Art Cashin says.
  • Interest rates, trade fears and future earnings expectations all contributed to Tuesday's sell-off, he says.
  • "The market's saying 'yes, things have been good but what are you going to do for me tomorrow?'" Cashin says.

There appear to be several things weighing on the market, but it isn't this earnings season, closely followed trader Art Cashin told CNBC on Tuesday.

"We're maybe one-third of the way thru earning season and 83 percent of companies that have reported have easily beaten the estimates. And yet the averages are below where they were when earnings season started. So it's something other than earnings that has the market very upset here," Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange, said on "Closing Bell."

Stocks sank Tuesday, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing 424 points lower. The S&P 500 fell 1.3 percent and the Nasdaq composite dropped 1.7 percent, with shares of Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet and Netflix all retreating more than 3.5 percent.

Cashin said part of the reason for the sell-off was the 10-year Treasury breaking above 3 percent for the first time in more than four years.

However, there are also general concerns about trade and tariffs, as well as whether earnings will peak this season.

On Tuesday, Caterpillar reported earnings that beat expectations. However, during a conference call, Chief Financial Officer Bradley Halverson said the company's outlook assumed that the first quarter would be "the high-water mark for the year."

On top of that, the quarterly reading on gross domestic product is coming up, and that continues to be marked down, noted Cashin.

"The market's saying 'yes, things have been good but what are you going to do for me tomorrow?'" he said.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist at B. Riley FBR, believes the biggest concern for the market is around trade.

Tariffs may be the reason that input costs are going up for corporate America, which is causing companies to give cautious guidance, he said.

"There's no economic benefit to commodities going up when it's being caused by bad trade policy. I think that's what the market's reacting to. It has nothing to do with 3 percent yield on a 10-year," he told "Power Lunch."

"It's that caution around how far does this go or are we ever going to back down and negotiate with people and get some deals done on trade," Hogan added.

Meanwhile, Cashin said the stock market also needs new leadership now that the FANG stocks aren't leading the market higher.

So far, it hasn't been found in consumer staples or industrials, he noted.

"It's going to be something we're not thinking of right now."

— CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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