Sam Zell: Stock market correction coming

Sam Zell: Correction coming

Billionaire Sam Zell told CNBC on Wednesday he believes a correction in the stock market could be on the horizon.

"The stock market is at an all-time, but economic activity is not at an all-time," the chairman of Equity Group Investments said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "People have no place else to put their money, and the stock market is getting more than its share. It's very likely that something has to give here."

Zell also expressed concern about tensions in many parts of the world, including the threats posed by the Islamic State militant group and the Ukraine-Russia standoff.

"I don't remember any time in my career where there have been as many wildcards floating out there that have the potential to be very significant and alter people's thinking," he said. "If there's a change in confidence or some international event that changes the dynamics, people could in effect take a different position with reference to the market."

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With those concerns as a backdrop, Zell said he's being very cautious about adding to stock positions and trimming where it makes sense.

"It's almost every company that's missed has missed on the revenue side, which is a reflection that there's a demand issue," he said. "When you got a demand issue it's hard to imagine the stock market at an all-time high."

He also lamented about how difficult it is to call a market top. "If you're wrong on when, that's a problem." His answer: "You got to tiptoe ... and find the right balance."

"This is the first time I ever remember where having cash isn't such a terrible thing, despite the fact that interest rates are as low as they are," he added.

While Zell expressed concern, many other market watchers still think stocks have further to run.

Wharton Professor Jeremy Siegel told "Squawk Box" on Tuesday the bull run in stocks is not over. He did say the market could see a "little ripple" if the Federal Reserve starts hiking interest rates sooner than the expected mid-2015 time frame.

Read MoreJeremy Siegel: Bull market 'not over' yet, but...

Regarding the Fed's policy of near-zero interest rates, Zell said it's creating an economy of haves and have-nots.

"Part of the impact of these very, very low interest rates is that we've creating this disparity. The wealthy are benefiting from government policy and the nonwealthy aren't," he continued. "So we have a president who says we've got to fight this disparity and we have a Fed who's encouraging it everyday."

Zells says U.S. needs a 'rational tax policy'

Sam Zell: Inversion 'a response' to existing law

Zell also spoke about corporate tax inversions, saying the practice of buying a foreign company and relocating there to pay lower taxes is a result of bad policy.

"This is both legal and accepted. If the government doesn't like the result, change the law," he said. "You have to have a rational tax policy." He said the top tax rate should be changed and the U.S. should not tax worldwide income.

Zell also said it's unfortunate that "this inversion thing has been captured as a political, electioneering item."

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere