Trade tensions are my 'big worry' for stock market, CFRA's Sam Stovall says

CFRA's chief investment strategist is calling a potential trade war his "big worry" for the stock market.

According to Sam Stovall, appearing on CNBC's "Futures Now," it's a bigger threat than rising interest rates and inflation.

"I think that we [Wall Street] are certainly discounting the trade tensions that are going on right now," he said Tuesday. "A boxer is rarely felled by the punch he expects."

His thoughts came as stocks were trying to stage a comeback from Monday's deep losses. They were sparked by escalating trade-related threats by President Donald Trump. The S&P, Dow and Nasdaq closed higher Tuesday.

"Last week, it was a situation in which the market was going through rotation, not retreat — meaning rotating into the smaller-cap stocks as they’ve been doing for the last several weeks, not exiting stocks altogether," Stovall said. "Yesterday [Monday], was very different. I think that was implying that investors are nervous, and they are taking some risks off the table.”

Stovall calls himself a bull with a lowercase 'b.' His 12-month rolling S&P 500 price target is 2,800, a less than 3 percent gain from current levels.

"Don’t give up on the market until you start to see longer-term moving averages be broken by intermediate-term averages," Stovall said, reiterating in a recent research note that equities remain his asset class of choice.

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