NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The U.S. markets enjoyed a strong 2014, but small caps should outperform next year, Stephen Weiss, founder and managing partner of Short Hills Capital Partners, said on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime" show. The Russell 2000 will benefit more than large cap stocks as the U.S. economy continues to improve.
Low rates should help small cap stocks, added Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com. He likes financial stocks on the long side going into 2015, as the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) - Get Financial Select Sector SPDR Report continues to make new 52-week highs.
Investors should consider trimming some exposure to the outperforming stocks and consider buying the underperforming assets, according to Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management. Specifically, he likes small caps and European stocks.
Just because the economy is likely to have a great 2015, doesn't mean the stock market necessarily will, said Mike Santoli, senior columnist at Yahoo! Finance. While he's still bullish on stocks, he cautioned investors to be leery about a potential pullback in the early part of the year.
The conversation shifted to corporate breakups, as TheStreet'sJim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, appeared on the show to discuss Manitowoc (MTW) - Get Manitowoc Company Inc. (The) Report after it was revealed that hedge fund manager Carl Icahn took a position in the stock.
"Manitowoc has to listen" to Icahn, Cramer reasoned, as the fund manager will push for the company to split up its businesses. Cramer too has insisted that Manitowoc should split its refrigerator and crane business. Some other companies that should consider splitting up include Applied Materials (AMAT) - Get Applied Materials Inc. Report , Occidental Petroleum (OXY) - Get Occidental Petroleum Corporation Report and Jack In The Box (JACK) - Get Jack In The Box Inc. Report .
Gerald Storch, former CEO of Toys R Us and incoming CEO of Hudson's Bay, was a guest on the show. Sales of luxury goods should continue to sell well, as the stock market continues to move higher, a relationship that has a high correlation. Brick and mortar retailers continue to do well, especially as omni-channel operations continue to improve. Falling energy prices are "phenomenal" for the U.S. economy, he added.
"There's a lot of value in some of these energy stocks," Najarian said. Weiss added that Atlas Energy (ATLS) and Oasis Petroleum (OAS) - Get Oasis Petroleum Inc. Report are two of those stocks with incredible value. However, investors should avoid the oil services stocks, which tend to carry too much debt and have fixed costs, he said.
There's been "very aggressive" insider buying at Chesapeake Energy (CHK) - Get Chesapeake Energy Corporation Report , Tidewater (TDW) - Get Tidewater Inc. Report and Bill Barrett (BBG) , according to David Miller, senior portfolio manager at Catalysts Funds. On the flip side, there's been a lot of insider selling at Cobalt International Energy (CIE) .
For their final trades, Najarian is buying Danaher (DHR) - Get Danaher Corporation Report and Weiss is selling Ocwen Financial (OCN) - Get Ocwen Financial Corporation Report . Santoli is a buyer of the iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (EWU) - Get iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF Report and Brown said to buy iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) - Get iShares Russell 2000 ETF Report .
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.