Declining Oil Prices Shouldn't Spoil 'Santa Claus Rally'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The S&P 500 should still enjoy a "Santa Claus rally" despite the fall in oil prices, Stephen Weiss, founder and managing partner of Short Hills Capital Partners LLC, said on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime" show. 

On Wednesday, oil slid over 4% to make new lows at $60.43 per barrel. While this has a negative impact on the energy sector, investors should realize this sector has been under pressure since July, Weiss said. Utilities and health care have lead the rally, while Saudi Arabia -- not demand -- continues to drive down oil prices. 

Investors should also stick with individual stocks and sectors headed into year's end, he said. But those who prefer to buy the indices should stick with the S&P 500, which tends to outperform the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq and Russell 2000 in the month of December. 

This huge drop in oil prices is like a "big tax cut" for the consumer, said Josh Brown, CEO and co-founder of Ritholtz Wealth Management. The longer prices stay near these levels, the better off the economy is, even though the energy sector accounts for roughly 10% of the S&P 500.

Since no one knows where the bottom is for crude prices, investors should avoid the energy sector for the time being, according to Pete Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com. Investors shouldn't shy away from the financials, pharmaceutical companies or airline stocks.

The airline sector has undergone a large reconstruction to generate record profits with oil at $100 per barrel. Now that oil has drastically declined, they should be even more profitable, according to Jamie Baker, airline analyst at JPMorgan.

The additional profit should find its way into the pockets of many shareholders, he added. Despite the large run in share prices, many of these companies are still cheap on a valuation basis. American Airlines (AAL) doesn't hedge its fuel costs, so if prices stay this low it will be the biggest beneficiary, he said. 

Weiss remains long and optimistic on American Airlines, which has more room to run based on its solid fundamentals. There's still a "ton of runway" left for the airline stocks, Najarian added. Technically speaking, the airline industry is overextended, according to Brown. Investors should wait for a better entry point in the stocks. 

Lower oil doesn't just affect airlines and energy stocks but investment bankers such as Goldman Sachs (GS) , which was downgraded to hold by Doug Sipkin, an analyst at Susquehanna. About 20% of the high yield market is comprised of energy stocks, which are coming under pressure from the drop in crude prices. 

Heading into 2015, there are some rising concerns about whether some of the debt underwriting can be sustained. This is an important and profitable segment for the banks, and specifically, Goldman Sachs, which could see profits drop due to a decrease of activity in this segment, Sipkin said. 

Weiss and Najarian didn't agree with the call, with Najarian arguing shares of Goldman Sachs can climb through $200 per share on the back of is strong merger and initial public offering businesses. 

Bad news right now is good for bank stocks because it lowers the share price for investors and lowers the expectations for earnings. That sets up nicely for upside surprises, Brown said. 

Twitter
(TWTR)  was the topic of TheStreet's Herb Greenberg. He thinks this company should be part of a larger company and not compared to Facebook (FB) . While both are in social media, they have much different platforms. Twitter CEO Dick Costello has a tough job and Twitter's blunders aren't solely his fault, he said. A new CEO wouldn't necessarily affect the outcome. 

For their final trades, Pete Najarian is buying Potash (POT) and Jon Najarian is a buyer of Anheuser-Busch (BUD) . Brown said to buy a small position in the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) and Weiss is buying portfolio protection in the form a long position in the iPath S&P 500 Vix Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) .

-- Written by Bret Kenwell 

Follow @BretKenwell

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