Art Cashin: If the S&P 500 gets much lower then I'll really start to worry

Key Points
  • Art Cashin says that he won't be too worried about the stock market's move lower Tuesday as long as the S&P 500 doesn't fall below 2,700.
  • Cashin also says geopolitical concerns have calmed.
Veteran trader Art Cashin on what's moving markets

Closely followed trader Art Cashin said that he won't be too worried about the stock market's move lower Tuesday as long as the S&P 500 doesn't break a certain level.

"For now, we'll call it a consolidation until it begins to worsen," Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange, said in a "Squawk Alley" interview. "If they break 2,700 in the S&P, then I'll get a little bit more anxious after that."

Stocks were lower Tuesday, with trading around 2,708, down about 0.8 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 150 points. Cashin said investors were digesting a disappointing quarterly earnings report from Home Depot, which he said resulted in more fears about the broader retail sector.

Cashin also mentioned rising interest rates. The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield, which moves inversely to its price, hit 3.06 percent Tuesday, its highest read since 2011.

"I'm beginning to sense that the market is looking at a [Chairman Jerome] Powell-led Fed as being a bit more hawkish than originally thought," Cashin said. "I still don't think rates are going to get widely out of hand."

Markets are beginning to expect that the Fed will be more aggressive on interest rate hikes.

Geopolitical concerns, including President Donald Trump's tariffs on foreign countries and U.S-North Korea tensions, have become a little bit of background noise for the market, Cashin said. He cited the recent release of three American prisoners by North Korea ahead of a summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"Two months ago we were talking about a bloody nose for North Korea," Cashin said. "Now you've had a prisoner exchange [and] the president going to a summit. The Chinese going out of their way to make things work."

Concerns abroad are now "distilled" to the Middle East, Cashin said. Palestinians observed a strike on Tuesday to mourn the 58 people killed by Israeli troops in a mass protest on the Gaza Strip border.

WATCH: Higher yields, inflation concerns hit market

Cashin: Higher yields, mild inflation concerns hit market