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The market will improve if US relations with China do, says CIO of Bessemer Trust

Key Points
  • "Given the magnitude of this sell-off versus where the U.S. and the global economy are, I think a lot of bad news on the China trade war is discounted," Patterson tells CNBC.
  • She says if the Federal Reserve softens its tone, as well, the market will go higher.
  • Patterson says she does not think the sell-off is the beginning of a recession.
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If China and the U.S. can come to an agreement over the trade war, "the market will really love that," Rebecca Patterson, chief investment officer at Bessemer Trust, told CNBC on Monday.

"Given the magnitude of this sell-off versus where the U.S. and the global economy are, I think a lot of bad news on the China trade war is discounted," Patterson said on CNBC's "Fast Money."

"But if we were to see President Xi [Jinping] and President [Donald] Trump have a constructive dialogue in November, if we were to avoid this getting worse, I think you could see the market will really love that."

She added that if the Federal Reserve softens its tone, as well, the market will go higher. However, Bessemer Trust is not buying on the pullback.

"We're staying with the equity exposure we have," Patterson said. "We are neutral versus what our clients would consider a long-term benchmark."

"We have all of our portfolio managers looking for opportunities as things sell off," she said. "If there's a great company that they thought was too expensive before, they might do a little buying on this dip, but we're not looking to add risk at this juncture. We think we're late cycle, but we don't think this is the end of the cycle."

Patterson said she does not think the sell-off is the beginning of a recession but rather it is an effect of global politics.

"The economy is doing too well for (a recession)," Patterson said. "I think this is a correction that's coming because the Fed suggested a slightly more aggressive path and we're starting to feel more of the trade war here at home in the U.S. through earnings guidance."

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Key Points
  • Seven countries — including Mexico, Canada and the European Union — disputed U.S. tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum at a meeting of the World Trade Organization in Geneva on Monday.
  • Rarely has the WTO faced so many disputes about a handful of actions, experts say. But President Trump's pursuit of protectionist trade policies has stoked nationalism around the globe.
  • Experts say the moves have exposed how broken the system has become. The disputes on Monday's docket will be a critical test of whether the WTO still has teeth.