Recession fears will spike when the stock market finally bottoms: Wall Street veteran Jim Paulsen

  • "The next shoe to drop, I really think, is the U.S. economy," strategist Jim Paulsen warns. "That might force Wall Street to lower 2019 estimates."
  • But he says the combination of slower growth and fear would present a buying opportunity for investors if the Fed slows its plans for interest rate hikes.

Fears of another economic recession will spike once the stock market reaches a bottom, strategist Jim Paulsen warned on Tuesday.

"The next shoe to drop, I really think, is the U.S. economy slows, maybe in half to around 2 percent growth," he said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." "That might force Wall Street to lower 2019 [earnings] estimates, maybe to flat line."

But the Leuthold Group chief investment strategist said the combination of slower growth and fear could present a buying opportunity for investors.

"I don't see that yet. We're still growing too fast here," Paulsen said. "When we do find a bottom, we're going to feel a lot more fearful about a recession around the corner."

Paulsen, who has been predicting a bigger market correction ahead, said if the Federal Reserve does not change course and slow its planned interest rate hikes, the stock market could remain under pressure next year.

Wall Street was set to rise at Tuesday's open after stocks tanked in Monday's session, pulled lower by a plunge in tech shares, a rise in the U.S. dollar, and lingering worries about global trade.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq on Monday went back into correction territory. The index last entered a correction in October's market rout. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 602 points lower.

Concerns that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell might raise rates more than forecast has fueled stock declines and wild swings for weeks, as well as criticism from President Donald Trump.

—CNBC's Fred Imbert contributed to this report.