NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The trading panel on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime Report" took a look at the equity markets on Monday, which were slightly lower halfway through the trading session.
Pete Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com, said that volatility is not going to disappear, especially with earnings season just around the corner. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX.X) climbed quickly in Monday's morning session, he added.
Mike Murphy, founder of Rosecliff Capital, said Apple (AAPL) sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies' (GTAT) Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing caught a lot of investors off-guard and is "very negative news for the market," especially for small-cap stocks. More broadly speaking, earnings should be strong in the upcoming quarter.
Colbert Narcisse, global head of alternative investments at Morgan Stanley, was a guest on the show. He said high net-worth individuals are becoming concerned about a rise in volatility now that the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing is coming to an end. Because of this, more money is flowing into hedged assets, as well as alternative private-equity investments.
Narcisse also said there are still "tremendous opportunities" in the U.S., but Western Europe is looking attractive as well, especially in regards to real estate. Gold has been hammered in recent trading, but still presents opportunities for investors. However, many investors would prefer to see income and yield from their investments, which they do not get with gold, he concluded.
Shares of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ - Get Report) are higher after announcing it will split into two companies, one for its computer and printer business and another for its faster growing corporate hardware and services business.
Najarian said CEO Meg Whitman has done a great job turning around the company. He is long the stock and will remain long, saying it seems poised to go to $40 and possibly higher.
Murphy said he is not a buyer of Hewlett-Packard near current levels. However, other large cap tech names, such as Cisco Systems (CSCO) , Oracle (ORCL) and IBM (IBM) , all have breakup potential as well.
Shares of Rio Tinto (RIO) are higher following news of a possible merger with Glencore (GLCNF) . Najarian said the mining sector is ripe for consolidation going into 2015, following large selloffs in many of the stocks.
Murphy agreed with Najarian, adding that there could be a lot of upcoming M&A activity in the mining sector, due to cost-cutting potential and synergies that exist between the companies.
David Blitzer, head of tactical opportunities at Blackstone (BX) , was a guest on the show. He said the changing regulatory environment for financial institutions has actually helped his company. In his division, he is focused on "special situations and opportunistic investments," two areas large financial firms used to love investing in, but no longer can, or have trouble doing so because of new regulations. One area he likes in particular is the mortgage business in the United Kingdom.
Brazilian equities are higher on news of a possible election for a pro-business president. Shares of the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) are higher by some 7%.
Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management, said that Petrobras SA (PBR) , which represents 11% of the EWZ ETF, is a large reason behind Monday's move higher. He said traders can consider selling the ETF, while investors should "keep it on their radar" for a long entry. Brazilian equities have a low valuation, he added.
Stephanie Link, chief investment officer of TheStreet and co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said she is long Vale (VALE) in the portfolio and is not considering selling the position. She added that the final results for the election won't be known until later this month.
Najarian said he would be a seller of the EWZ ETF on Monday's news, but likely a buyer toward the end of the month and closer to the election results.
Becton, Dickinson and Company's (BDX) $12.2 billion acquisition of CareFusion (CFN) made the pair of stocks the first up on the show's "Trader Blitz" segment. Najarian said the pharmaceutical and biotech space remains "hot." The fact that the acquirer, Becton, Dickinson and Company, is higher on the news, shows that it's a good deal for both parties.
Media giants Disney (DIS) and Time Warner (TWX) agreed to a new deal for maintaining its rights to the National Basketball Association's games through the 2024-2025 season. Brown said the deal will force these two companies to generate a lot of advertising revenue as a result. Overall, it's good news, though.
Morgan Stanley upgraded shares of Burger King Worldwide (BKW) , but downgraded shares of McDonald's (MCD) . Link said she agrees with the upgrade of Burger King, but disagrees with the downgrade of McDonald's. The latter just hired a new head of North America, which can hopefully cut costs and improve margins. The lofty dividend yield of 3.6% helps as well.
Meanwhile, Macau visitor arrivals climbed 14%, despite the demonstrations in Hong Kong. Najarian said Wynn Resorts (WYNN) has a lot of exposure to the region and should benefit from this news. He likes the stock on the long side.
Max Levchin, co-founder and CEO of Affirm, as well as the co-founder of PayPal, was a guest on the show. He said the direction of future technology is geared toward mobile. In regards to eBay's (EBAY) decision to spinoff of PayPal, he said it seems like it was a good move and gives the latter a second chance to find innovation. His company, Affirm, is a consumers' bank that focuses on cleaning up customers' credit image. The lending company offers payment plans for large purchases as well, he concluded.
For their final trades, Murphy is a buyer of International Paper (IP) and Brown said to buy Bank of America (BAC) . Najarian is a buyer of Google (GOOGL) and Link is buying Whirlpool (WHR - Get Report) .
-- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.