Morgan Stanley: The stock sell-off is going to get worse

  • The stock market is in the middle of a rolling bear market, says Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson.
  • "It's being caused by a drain in liquidity and peaking growth," Wilson says.
  • "Sooner or later, the rolling bear will likely be back for more."

The stock market sell-off is only going to get worse, predicts Morgan Stanley's chief U.S. equity strategist, Mike Wilson.

In a note to clients Monday, he wrote that the pain is not over for growth, discretionary and tech stocks, which been the final holdouts until last week.

"We continue to believe we are in the midst of a rolling bear market across all global risk assets caused by a drain in liquidity and peaking growth," Wilson said.

"Sooner or later, the rolling bear will likely be back for more."

A man walks by the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. 
Spencer Platt | Getty Images
A man walks by the New York Stock Exchange in New York City. 

On Monday, U.S. stocks failed to bounce back from last week's sell-off. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 89.44 points lower, while the S&P 500 fell 0.6 percent and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.9 percent.

The action followed last week's rout that saw the major indexes suffer their worst weekly loses since March thanks to fears about rapidly rising interest rates and a possible global economic slowdown.

Wilson said last week that those rising interest rates served as the "tipping point" for the rolling bear market to finally hit the U.S. and "take out the last holdouts."

The move higher in rates is primarily due to the Federal Reserve accelerating its balance sheet reduction, along with the European Central Bank beginning to taper its quantitative easing program, he said in Monday's note.

And he predicts the global liquidity issue is "going to get worse" as the end of the year approaches.

However, Wilson pointed out to CNBC on Monday that we're in the "last phase" of the rolling bear market. He predicts perhaps another 10 percent decline in U.S. growth and small-cap stocks, or even 15 percent in some names.

He said the S&P 500 could get down to 2,600 or even 2,500 if "it gets really nasty."

"That will probably be it for the rolling bear market," he said on CNBC's "Fast Money. "That'll probably be a good place to start buying."

He's been favoring value over growth since those stocks have been going down less.

"There are names to buy. There's been a lot of damage this year already and some bargains have been created," Wilson said.

It's just hard to pick stocks right now because of the liquidity situation, which is a market event, he added.

"It's going to be tricky in here the next couple of weeks," he said."

— CNBC's Keris Lahiff and Fred Imbert contributed to this report.