Hedge fund billionaire David Tepper said Thursday he's "not as bullish" as he could be—taking a more cautious view of the stock market almost five years to the day since his comments on CNBC sparked the "Tepper Rally" in the stock market.
"I have problems with earnings growth [and] problems with multiples," he said. "So I can't really call myself a bull [near-term]," said Tepper, founder and president of Appaloosa Management, which currently manages more than $20 billion.
Appearing on "Squawk Box" as investors look to next week's meeting of Federal Reserve policymakers, Tepper said it might be a good time to take money off the table, adding that he has lots of cash right now.
"We have some longs and shorts and we're hedged in, but we don't have a huge equity book right now," he said.
Tepper called the stock market environment "challenging" and questioned whether earnings estimates for next year are too high.
Acknowledging he was not as definitive as usual, he said he's "not loving it," but if stocks were to fall 20 percent or so he'd be a buyer. He added that he still believes the market will go higher in the long term.
As for all the recent wild swings in the U.S. stock market, he blamed global reserve drawdowns. Money flows are not going in one direction anymore, he continued—warning the market should remain volatile as investors adjust to the new realities.
He said world economic growth is looking lower at a time when the Fed appears to be ready to raise interest rates while most other central banks are easing.
"The United States is not held hostage by the global economy. The U.S. stock market … which is 50-50 U.S. and the rest of the world is not the U.S. [economy]," Tepper said.