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We're in a Tug-of-War Right Now: Goldman Exec

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Jeff Titcomb | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

It's become very important to dominant franchises, whether US-based or European-based, to embrace globalization, Steve Barry, the CIO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, told CNBC today.

It's a "tug-of-war right now" between companies expanding globally and those that remain focused on their home turf, Barry believes. He says the winner of this economic "war," so far, is the technology sector.

Even most emerging economies are not starting at the bottom, they are "leap frogging" over where we [the US] were, he said, referring to the ways technology is driving incredible growth in some parts of the world.

This dynamic is helping many American companies, especially in the "supply chain where there is a lot of intellectual property that can't be easily duplicated," Barry added.

The real fuel right now is "uncertainty," Barry said, "that needs to be embraced in the marketplace because it's unclear what the future holds."

For that reason, he recommends doing "what if" scenario analysis—putting "different stress tests at the top line."

Goldman Sachs did this in the fall 2008 and early 2009, according to Barry, as they were thinking about the "kinds of businesses they wanted to own, share gainers, where they had conviction and how management responds to change and crisis."

What does the CIO think of the continuing trend, seen by companies like Kellogg, where consumers are trading-down and buying generic productsinstead of brand-names?

He thinks this is "a symptom of an uneven recovery," with everyone being "frugal in how they make decisions."

But Barry quickly added, "some of the seeds for recovery have been established" and are "beginning to take hold in an optimistic way."

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"The Strategy Session," hosted by David Faber and Gary Kaminsky, airs weekdays at Noon ET on CNBC.