Waiting for a Santa rally? You may have missed it

The traditional Santa Claus rally on Wall Street may have come early this year, market watchers told CNBC on Thursday, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 each dropped more than 1.5 percent in the worst session in two months.

"We might have brought ahead that Christmas rally from the middle of October into the middle of November when we had a 14 percent gain," Haverford Trust Chief Investment Officer Hank Smith said in a "Squawk Box" interview.

Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank, agreed, saying he had been pretty bullish heading into December, which has seen the Dow and the S&P decline 1.6 percent and 2 percent respectively as of Wednesday's close. He thought the "desperation" of active fund managers to make their year would have catapulted stocks higher this month.

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Albin said that may still materialize he does worry about the first quarter because "valuations are pretty far ahead of fundamentals." He said stocks could reset in the new year and "it could be significant."

Smith sees quite the opposite start to 2015. "Pullbacks should be relatively shallow and brief as they have been all throughout 2014, because there is still a lot of money that has missed this bull market that wants to participate and will buy on the dip."

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"Remember," Smith added, "the third year of a presidential cycle [has] always been the most powerful year. And we have an economy that is gearing to a new level called the '3-percent world' from the '2-percent world.'"

As for the drop in oil prices, Smith said, "Lower oil is good for the good guys and bad for the bad guys. The bad guys are Russian, Venezuela, Iran, there are a few others in there."

"This is good for the consumer, both the U.S. and global consumer," he continued. "It's great for China. It's great for Japan. It's great for the United States."

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Scott Nations, chief investment officer at NationShares, told CNBC he also believes lower oil is good for stocks. "I think everyone hit the sell button when they shouldn't have. It's great news for our stock market with oil down."

While acknowledging oil as a boon, Ablin warned, "The biggest headwind facing our U.S. markets next year is simply valuations. We've been victim of our own success. And we have to really adjust expectations and fundamentals."

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