NEW YORK (TheStreet) - European stocks are higher on Friday, continuing from Thursday's gains after the European Central Bank announced a stimulus package.
European stocks may seem cheaper based on valuation, but because of the strong U.S. economy, domestic equities are still more attractive, Stephen Weiss, founder and managing partner of Short Hill Capital Partners, said on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime" show. He said stock portfolios should consist of 70% U.S. equities and 30% European equities.
Regardless of whether of European stocks are a better value, global investors will continue to put money to work in the region, because Europe will improve and other funds are investing in the region, Weiss explained. He likes the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity ETF (HEDJ) - Get Report for exposure.
Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management, agreed with Weiss. He also likes the HEDJ ETF, which has more exposure to European exporters. Those companies should benefit from a lower euro and the ECB's stimulus. The S&P 500 is no longer the absolute go-to anymore in terms of which stocks to buy.
Likewise, U.S. exporters won't benefit from a rise in the U.S. dollar, said Jeremy Schwartz, director of research at WisdomTree. The lower euro will help make European companies more competitive. The valuation for European stocks is compelling, as quantitative easing will support stock prices and lower the euro even more, he added.
The U.S. dollar is gaining strength because the U.S. economy is stronger and earnings are growing faster, argued Art Hogin, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities. The dollar will act like "a magnet" for global investors, causing U.S. stocks and bonds to move higher, he reasoned. Also, two-thirds of the country's gross domestic product is driven by consumer spending, which should receive a boost from increased hiring, lower energy costs and higher consumer confidence.
Tyler Vernon, CEO of Biltmore Capital Advisors, said Europe has a lot of positives, including the ECB's stimulus and a declining currency. The valuation of European stocks is likely to climb. He likes the Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK) - Get Report .
While European stocks do have some appeal, U.S. stocks still look great, said Pete Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com. Airline stocks indicate a positive outlook for the economy, as does Union Pacific (UNP) - Get Report , which had increased pricing power and saw rising shipping volume in its most recent quarter.
One company that didn't do as well was United Parcel Service (UPS) - Get Report . Shares fell 10% on Friday after the company reported quarterly earnings that were below analysts' estimates. Najarian reasoned that the selloff is a buying opportunity, as management simply over-prepared for the holiday season and spent too much money. The stock has more upside than shares of FedEx (FDX) - Get Report .
At least UPS spent too much money to make sure its customers were satisfied, added Vernon. That is likely to translate to higher sales throughout the year, as customers who used the service during the holidays will likely stick with UPS.
The conversation shifted to Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report and McDonald's (MCD) - Get Report , two companies that also reported earnings this week. Starbucks' in-line results gave investors a sigh of relief, allowing the stock to rally 6.6% on Friday, while shares of McDonald's sank 1.5% after the company reported lower-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and sales.
Starbucks continues to do everything right, while McDonald's is struggling with its operations, Najarian said. It wouldn't be surprising to see a management change at McDonald's if the company's struggles continue. That said, McDonald's looks attractive given its dividend yield and capital return.
The only reason McDonald's isn't a $50 stock is because of its 3.75% dividend yield and stock buybacks, Brown reasoned. Starbucks, on the other hand, continues to be a fabulous operator and "deserves" to be trading at all-time highs, he added.
For their final trades, Najarian is buying Sysco (SYY) - Get Report , and Vernon is a buyer of Google (GOOGL) - Get Report . Brown recommended FireEye (FEYE) - Get Report , and Weiss is buying the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity ETF.
-- Written by Bret Kenwell