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RayJay's Saut: 'It is too late to panic'

Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Jin Lee | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Trader on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Now is not the time to panic. The time for that, in fact, was about a month ago.

That's the view from Jeffrey Saut, the widely followed chief investment strategist at Raymond James, who believes investors missed a selling opportunity in December and now need to ride out the current volatile wave.

Saut warned clients in late December that his timing models suggested a tumultuous period ahead for markets. He repeated that call during 2015's first week of trading when he noted that he was looking for "increased volatility in the first couple months of the year" after a 15 percent rally from the October lows.

During that period, he said, investors should have been raising cash as they waited for signs that a bout of selling was over.

"It is too late to panic," Saut wrote in a note to clients Thursday morning. "The time to raise cash was a month ago, not now. Now it is time to make your 'shopping list,' looking for the opportunity to selectively redeploy that cash into preferred equities."

Investors, in fact, have shown little inclination toward panic.

Read MoreHere's the real reason for the market selloff

In the latest Investors Intelligence survey, which polls professional investor newsletter authors, bulls remained slightly above 50 percent. Though the most recent American Association of Individual Investors survey saw bullishness hit a three-week low of 41 percent, the bears were still well in the minority at 27.7 percent.

Broadly speaking, Saut is positive on stocks. He believes the U.S. is in a secular bull market that has years to run.

However, he is not constantly bullish and has warned clients that a market on such a long run higher can have fairly pronounced selling periods—a condition he sees in effect now.

Read MoreShort sellers ganging up on oil companies

"Granted various stocks will make their lows at different times, so pick your spots carefully," Saut advised. "Tactically, at least on a very short-term trading basis, many of my indicators are becoming oversold and it would not surprise me to see another bounce attempt off of some kind of low on Thursday. Unfortunately, I do not think any rally attempt 'sticks' and we will subsequently go lower."

Stocks were mixed Thursday morning as investors weighed the impact of lower oil and the Swiss National Bank's move overnight to remove the franc's peg against the euro.

Read MoreEndingthe Swiss peg: What it really means

"As I write this Wednesday night, the Swiss National Bank scraps its ceiling for the franc sending the euro crashing, and Chinese loan data is weak, which likely pressures our equity markets again on Thursday," Saut said. "Look for some kind of trading low, but I do not trust it."