The energy sector has bounced back powerfully over the past few months alongside oil prices, with relatively smaller names leading the charge. That means that the best picks now are in the bigger, less levered names, says Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov.
"The stocks that have not bounced as much since the beginning of the year are generally the more defensive oil stocks," Molchanov said Thursday on CNBC's "Power Lunch."
"These would be the large caps like Chevron, [Occidental], Hess, Apache, and Anadarko. These are quality stocks, and they have not benefited from the junk rally we've seen in some of the over-levered, trouble micro-caps and small caps."
Molchanov does not view the stocks as screaming buys, but in the energy space, they may be the best bets right now.
"Valuations by and large are not cheap, certainly not at today's prices," Molchanov said. But "we think there is value in some of these larger and more liquid names."
Similarly, Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a Thursday note that they are raising their outlook on the energy sector to "overweight," particularly given low price-to-book values, and that the best way to capitalize would be to look toward the bigger names.
"Larger, better-capitalized energy companies are less vulnerable, even if oil prices drop further."
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