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“Market Madness” Elite 8: East & Midwest

As the NCAA March Madness nears its ultimate conclusion, the "Halftime Report" isn't far behind in its own "Market Madness" stock tournament.

Over the weekend, our experts solidified the contenders for the "Final Four" after voting on the East and Midwest divisions; containing Visa, JP Morgan, Boeing, and Berkshire Hathaway.

Our first match-up saw East division produce its champion after one final financial debate between Visa and JP Morgan – with a 2-to-1 traders swing in favor of Visa.


Match-Up 1

"There's opportunity here in front of the Visa Europe deal, which will be accretive to earnings," Stephanie Link, Managing Director & Portfolio Manager at TIAA Global Asset Management, said. She also pointed to strength in the company's long-term business model, and high margins, as additional reasons behind her decision.

Jim Lebenthal, Lebenthal Asset Management, also voted in favor of Visa – based on the positive trade-off from less legal headwinds.

"Visa is a solid play on rising consumer sales plus, JP Morgan still has a lot of regulatory issues facing it," Lebenthal said.

Jon Najarian, Najarian Family Advisors, saw the near-term contest between the two financial companies as more evenly matched but ultimately decided on JP Morgan due to the bank's management team.

The day's second matchup, between Boeing and Berkshire Hathaway, saw our panel split in yet another 2-to-1 decision – sending the airplane manufacturer ahead to the "Final 4".


Match-Up 2

"From here the choice is Boeing" Jon Najarian said. "Airlines are flush with cash right now and there is increased military demand."

Lebenthal also voted in favor of Boeing, saying the recent price action presents an attractive entry point.

"Boeing is the right choice right now after the recent sell-off and the company has six years of production backlog" Lebenthal said. "The company will also generate a lot of cash flow from its mature programs – like the 737."

Stephanie Link disagreed with these positions – seeing a better opportunity, between these two names, in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

"Relative to Boeing I think Berkshire Hathaway works. It has a diversified business model, best in class management, and it's a play on the economy getting better" Link said. "Boeing makes me nervous on where we are in the cycle – I think we're in the later innings."

Here are the official standings as we head into the "Final 4".