Stocks may be off to their worst-ever start to a new year, but the correction does not show signs of the end of the six-year-plus bull market, said Tom Lee, co-founder of boutique equity research firm Fundstrat Global Advisors.
"You have to respect what the market's message is: ... Uncertain people are stepping back and risk is coming out. And we're deflating," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday. "[But] I would be surprised if this is the end of the bull market here."
With Wednesday's severe slide, the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 index, and the Nasdaq composite were in correction territory. The Dow and S&P were on pace for their biggest monthly drops since May 2010, while the Nasdaq could suffer its worst monthly slide since November 2008.
But Lee, a longtime stock bull, remains undeterred. "This is maybe more like a 1982 moment, which means it's more the front end of a longer bull market, not the end of an existing bull market."
The S&P 500 sank below the key level of 1,900 level on Wednesday, with traders looking for support at 1,867, said Stephen Suttmeier, chief equity technical strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research.
If the S&P breaches 1,867 then the index could be headed to the 1,600 level, he told "Squawk Box" in an earlier interview Thursday.