NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- After 2013's incredible run, with the S&P 500 garnering a 31.3% return, the stock market sold off in January to start 2014. According to Stephen Weiss, founder and managing partner of Short Hills Capital Partners LLC, that could happen again going into 2015.
On CBNC's "Fast Money Halftime" show Wednesday, Weiss quickly added that while an early pullback may be possible, investors should look further out than one month. He expects the market to generate an 8% to 10% return next year despite a potential selloff to start the year.
An 8% to 10% return sounds about right, agreed Jim Lebenthal, president of Lebenthal Asset Management. The market will have its usual "bumps" along the way, as geopolitical issues still exist and economic woes are still present in Europe, but nonetheless, 2015 should be a good year for stocks.
"I want to see a good payrolls report to start off January," said Paul Richards, head of foreign exchange at UBS. He think if the European Central Bank delivers some form of stimulus on Jan. 22 it should propel the market higher. However, with geopolitical issues looming and higher rates on the horizon, the second half of 2015 is likely to be "pretty rough," Richards added.
Utilities will likely start off 2015 with bullish price action and continue higher through the first half of the year, according to Jon Najarian, co-founder of optionmonster.com and trademonster.com. However, the sector will likely struggle in the second half of 2015. He expects the financial and health care sectors to lead the market higher.
One sector that has struggled is energy; West Texas Intermediate prices have fallen nearly 50% in the past six months. "I think we've seen the bottom in oil," according to Morgan Downey, CEO of Money.net. However, prices are likely to remain rangebound between $50 to $60 per barrel for most if not all of 2015. Instead, investors should look at fracking companies on the long side, which could become M&A targets. Specifically, he likes EOG Resources (EOG) , Whiting Petroleum (WLL) and Continental Resources (CLR) .
In regards to energy, the most money will be made and lost in the credit market, Weiss said. That is to say, some company's credit is likely deeply discounted while others will eventually go bankrupt, making the credit worthless.
Peter Bardwick, now a private investor but former CFO of both Rocket Fuel and MarketWatch, was a guest on the show. "The pipeline is very full" of initial public offerings for next year, he said. Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat and DropBox could all be in for an IPO next year.
Despite some of the lofty valuations these companies have achieved in the private market, Bardwick reasoned that good companies with disruptive business models and impressive management tend to earn high valuations. Investors are not as euphoric like they were during the dot-com bust in the early 2000s.
Facebook (FB) , which at the time was the largest U.S. IPO, is still the "best player" in the social media space, Najarian said. He likes the stock on the long side but doesn't like Twitter (TWTR) , which is still in a "world of pain" and needs new management.
"Facebook is the only stock in the industry that I own," Weiss said. The company continues to do "everything right," he added. Some investors are comfortable owning shares of Amazon (AMZN) but since its CEO Jeff Bezos does not seem concerned on generating a profit, Weiss is not interested in owning the stock.
For their final trades, Najarian is buying Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) , Lebenthal is a buyer of International Business Machines (IBM) and Weiss said to buy the iPath S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN (VXX) as a way to protect your portfolio.
-- Written by Bret Kenwell