Now Is Not the Time to Sell U.S. Stocks and Look Elsewhere

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - As the S&P 500 (SPY) continues its march higher, up 0.6% on Tuesday, it may seem tempting to lock in profits, but the CNBC "Fast Money Halftime" trading panel sees no reason to sell U.S. stocks. 

Investors could make the case that stocks are slightly overvalued near current levels, said Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management. But that doesn't mean it's time to sell. Stocks are doing well because the economy is strong and is expected to remain strong. 

Let's not forget, the U.S. has suffered two disastrous bear markets since 2000, Brown added. So it's not like stocks continue to add on gains to a market that has been strong for the past decade. European stocks are also attractive heading into 2015, he said. 

If the Federal Reserve decides to raise rates, it may be a negative catalyst, but it's not like it's an unknown event. Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com, pointed out that the Fed has been very open in communicating that the earliest rate hike would likely come sometime in mid-2015. 

Najarian also said investors should be looking at U.S. Treasuries over other countries' debt with similar yields, like Spain and Italy. The yields may be similar, but the credit quality is not, he said. 

Although other regions like Europe and India have cheap equities based on valuation, U.S. stocks shouldn't be sold due solely to price appreciation over the past few years, said Stephanie Link, chief investment officer of TheStreet and co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio. That's because the economy remains strong. 

Volatility will likely increase in 2015, she said. But higher interest rates would be justified given the strong economic data. Toll Brothers (TOL) is attractive near current levels. The stock is down 6% on the year, but recently pre-announced positive orders and sales. General Motors (GM) , Ford (F) and Lear (LEA) all have low valuations and compelling reasons to own them too, she added

Deere (DE) is another cheap stock, Brown said. Since the start of 2011, the stock is flat compared to the S&P 500's 60% return. Shares trade at 10 times earnings and 0.89 times sales. However, margins are strong and the company is in great shape, he said. This is just one example of many good bargains that still exist in the market. 

While some stocks, like Amazon (AMZN) , Netflix (NFLX)   and Tesla Motors (TSLA) are overvalued, it doesn't mean the whole market is, reasoned Pete Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com. Financials and large cap technology stocks have low valuations. 

Brent crude prices are likely to find a ceiling near $90 per barrel and trade in a range between $70 to $90, according Ed Morse, global head of commodities research at Citigroup. Increased production from the U.S. shale and OPEC's refusal to slow production will make it difficult for oil prices to get much upside traction. His base case for WTI crude is for $72 per barrel. 

The conversation shifted to Amazon after Pete Najarian said the company needs to start generating profits and boosting margins. Because the company doesn't focus on these metrics, it's a hard one to own. 

Brown added that shares have recovered nicely from its previous selloff. However, it is now hitting resistance and the stock continues to make lower highs, which is a bearish trend. There's no reason to buy the stock near current levels, he said. 

But don't get too bearish, Link said. Amazon has incredible revenue growth of about 20%. That's a hard figure to ignore. So if management just put some focus on scaling back some of its investments and boosting its operating leverage, the company could be much more profitable. 

For their final trades, Pete Najarian is buying Pfizer (PFE) and Jon Najarian is a buyer of Riverbed Technology (RVBD) . Brown said to buy Deere and Link is buying Toll Brothers. 

-- Written by Bret Kenwell

Follow @BretKenwell

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