History indicates that a market pullback of 5-10 percent will happen, but such a dip will represent a buying opportunity, strategist Sam Stovall told CNBC on Tuesday.
"It's really just a matter of time," said Stovall, S&P Capital IQ's chief equity. "Let's face it, we've had declines of 5-20 percent on average every year since World War II, so it's really not such a brave call to say that we're going to have another one."
Based upon technical analysis, Stovall said the market is likely in "a topping pattern" right now. "The only difficulty is that we're not necessarily sure exactly which topping pattern is being developed—a double top, head and shoulders—to help then figure out how far down we actually go."
Based on historical patterns, Stovall said on "Squawk on the Street," after an advance of 20 percent following the end of a pullback, another pullback of 5-10 percent can be expected, instead of something more severe like a correction or a new bear market.
"It's really going to represent a nice buying opportunity once it's done," he said. "For those people who are bullish for the longer term, this is an additional encouragement to say that you would want to buy on those dips."
Stovall added that early strength in 2013 usually heralds strength for the rest of the year, despite the likelihood of a pullback in the near term. In every one of the 26 years since World War II that the market has been up in both January and February, the market has been up an average of 24 percent for the entire year on a total return basis, he said.