"Dow 20,000 could elude us for weeks," Kevin O'Leary of "Shark Tank" told CNBC on Wednesday, "and remember, it's just a number."
Calling in from Switzerland, O'Leary said the institutional investors he talks to aren't as optimistic about the "Trump factor" as investors stateside seem to be, opting instead to lean strongly into cash.
Sovereign capital managers in Zurich and Geneva are taking profits, O'Leary said.
"They have now raised up to 33 percent cash, extracting a lot of it out of our U.S. equities," said O'Leary. "I've never seen that much cash on the sidelines before."
But while U.S. stocks may be out, O'Leary said that overseas interest in American energy debt is in.
"There will be a lot of cash sitting around to refinance shale plays in the U.S. if the regulatory environment gets lifted as Trump suggests," he said. O'Leary added that he sees the appeal of short-duration energy debt and predicts that oil will fall below $50 a barrel before the end of 2017.
Taking a view of U.S. markets from the outside has altered the entrepreneur's overall investment outlook as 2016 comes to a close.
"These names underperformed in the Trump rally," he said, "but I think they will outperform in Q1 and Q2 when the euphoria is over, and investors will covet the stability they provide."