NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. markets have enjoyed a strong 2014 but smaller capitalized stocks should outperform larger ones next year, Stephen Weiss, founder and managing partner of Short Hills Capital Partners LLC, said on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime" show.
As a result, he said, the small-caps on 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 and noted the Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF) - Get Report continues to make new 52-week highs.
Investors should consider trimming some exposure to the outperforming stocks and consider buying the underperforming assets, including small-caps and European stocks, according to Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management.
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.
TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, called in to discuss Manitowoc (MTW) - Get Report after it was revealed that hedge fund manager Carl Icahn took a position in the stock.
"Manitowoc has to listen" to Icahn, Cramer said, because the fund manager will push for the company to split up its businesses. Cramer agrees, and has long insisted that Manitowoc should split its refrigerator and crane business. Other companies that should consider splitting up include Applied Materials (AMAT) - Get Report , Occidental Petroleum (OXY) - Get Report and Jack In The Box (JACK) - Get Report , Cramer said.
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 with 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 Report are two such stocks. 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 Report , Tidewater (TDW) - Get 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 Report and Weiss is selling Ocwen Financial (OCN) - Get Report . Santoli is a buyer of the iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF (EWU) - Get Report and Brown said to buy the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM) - Get Report .
-- Written by Bret Kenwell
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held TK positions in the stocks mentioned.