NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The stock market is in "reasonably good shape," Art Cashin, UBS's director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange, told the traders on CNBC's "Fast Money Halftime" show Tuesday. There may be geopolitical issues weighing on stocks but going into 2015 he remains bullish.
Does the panel agree? "I expect for the markets to generate a high-single-digit return," predicted Jim Lebenthal, president of Lebenthal Asset Management. The strengthening U.S. economy should help push stocks higher, even though the last few years have already been quite strong in annual returns.
Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com, liked Lebenthal's prediction, adding that lower energy prices and lower interest rates will be good for the economy and for many businesses.
Investors should "absolutely" remain bullish going into 2015 and should stay overweight equities, according to Kate Moore, chief investment strategist at JPMorgan private bank. Earnings and revenue growth will fuel the rise in stocks.
It's unclear if it will benefit the stock market if oil continues to fall, Moore added. While lower energy prices are good for consumers, it could negatively hit equities because energy companies cut back production, spending and capital expenditures.
Strong U.S. economic data should continue to push stocks higher in 2015, predicted John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer & Company. He has a 2015 year-end target of 2,311 for the S&P 500 and likes the industrial, technology, consumer discretionary and materials sectors. Stoltzfus referred to the utilities sector as "considerably rich" in terms of valuation.
It's a little too early to buy energy stocks, Moore added. For now, she's sticking with her top sector picks, which include technology, financials and health care.
Josh Spencer, fund manager of the T. Rowe Price Global Technology Fund, said investors should move on from this year's big winners -- Apple (AAPL) , Intel (INTC) , Microsoft (MSFT) and Facebook (FB) . On average, the group is up 40% over the past 12 months.
Instead, investors should turn their attention to some of tech's underperforming stocks such as Amazon (AMZN) , Google (GOOGL) , Salesforce.com (CRM) and Workday (WDAY) . Next year will be more "challenging" for tech stocks, Spencer said, but he believes the "out of favor" stocks have more upside in 2015 than the stocks that have outperformed in 2014.
Once Amazon slows its capital expenditures it could be an "earnings monster," reasoned Lebenthal. The problem is, no one knows when that will happen. Stocks like Amazon and International Business Machines (IBM) are attractive, but only for the very long term. Salesforce.com looks interesting on the long side, Najarian added.
Yelp (YELP) is another struggling stock that Rob Sanderson, managing director at MKM Partners, called one of the most misunderstood stocks on Wall Street. Investors continue to focus on the the number of local business account activations, which have been somewhat disappointing.
Instead, investors should focus on the amount of revenue Yelp retains and the potential earnings power this "emerging growth stock" has once it completes some of its large investments. Sanderson believes there is 60% upside in the stock over the next 12 months. There doesn't need to be an acquisition in order for the stock to appreciate that much, he reasoned.
As for Twitter (TWTR) , which has seen its shares fall over 40% on the year, Sanderson said there's a lot of pressure for management to execute better because investors have been disappointed with the company's product pipeline. User experience is the "key factor" for the company and if management can make improvements in the first half of 2015, the stock should rally, he said.
-- Written by Bret Kenwell