NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Tech, housing, market volatility and quantitative easing were high on the agenda at TheStreetMONSTER investment conference last weekend.
The event, which was hosted by Jill Malandrino, product development manager of TheStreet's Option Profits, took place on Friday and Saturday at the Hilton hotel in midtown Manhattan.
On Saturday Jim Cramer discussed the Federal Reserve and quantitative easing during his keynote, and also described his appetite for "retro tech" stocks such as Micron (MU), HP (HPQ ), Seagate Techology (STX ), Western Digital (WDC), AMD (AMD) and Intel (INTC).
Specifically, TheStreet founder and host of CNBC's Mad Money pointed to the turnaround work being done by HP CEO Meg Whitman: "I was blown away by the transformation of the balance sheet," he said.In the second half of the year, investors are going to want higher-growth stocks, according to Cramer, citing names like Micron and HP, which have seen multiple downgrades recently. However, Cramer noted these names could be the big winners for the second-quarter, especially in an environment where macro economics is the topic du jour. Cramer also likes pharmaceutical stocks Gilead (GILD), Celgene (CELG) and Regeneron (REGN) "You can't beat these guys, you have got to join them," he said. "Celgene remains one of the cheapest of all drug companies." Later on Saturday, Stephanie Link, co-portfolio manager of Action Alerts Plus, said that she "likes the U.S. market," noting that the Fed has been largely responsible for the growth the country is seeing. Link pointed out that bank lending and housing are on the rebound and cited continued consumer resiliency, as evidenced by healthy auto and retail sales. Companies continue to do more with less, and margins are not coming down, as the bears have thought. "That leads to better growth, and better corporate profits," she said during her presentation. "If you can get a little bit better earnings, you could see a higher stock market." She also mentioned Procter & Gamble (PG) and Phillip Morris International (PM) as defensive names that are worth watching, as consumer staples have pulled back in recent days. Housing is still in the early innings, Link said. Permits are up 26% year over year, and inventories are at 10-year lows. Some 48 states saw price increases in the month of May, something that bodes well for the housing market in the future. If rates continue to rise in a gradual, controlled way, that's okay, she added. Housing is a huge component of GDP, currently at 5%, but its derivatives account for nearly 17% of GDP.
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