They would buy what? Analysts’ most loved sectors may surprise you

  • Analysts' "most loved" sectors are now energy, health care and technology, according to a new report from Bespoke Investment Group.
  • This may surprise some investors, as energy is the worst-performing sector year to date.

Analysts' "most loved" sectors in the market are now energy, health care and technology, according to a new report from Bespoke Investment Group that showed analysts hold more buy ratings within those sectors than any other area of the market.

While technology — the market's best-performing sector — may come as no surprise, energy is the market's worst performer as oil has plunged, and health-care stocks' performance is susceptible to swings in policy.

On the "least loved" end of the spectrum, according to the percentage of analyst buy ratings, lie telecommunication stocks, utilities and consumer staples.

Long term, the energy sector appears quite challenged, said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management.

"Oil being low is just a symptom, to me, that energy may have a little bit of mean-reversion trade, but long term, faces massive secular risks. It's just under assault from technology on every single level. And I think energy, in a lot of ways, is in a very disruptive phase right now. So from a long point of view, it's actually a very negative business to be in," he said, referring to disruptions from cleaner, "green" energy to older forms of energy going forward.

Indeed, commodities appear to be in a "secular, non-bull market," in the longer term, Oppenheimer's head of technical analysis, Ari Wald, said Wednesday on CNBC's "Trading Nation."

As a result, Wald contended, energy stocks will likely continue underperforming rising equities elsewhere in the market. Interestingly enough, the technology sector's performance relative to the energy sector (on opposite ends of analysts' buy rating spectrum) is currently breaking through 15-year resistance as technology continues to outperform.

While the technology sector is overbought, Wald said, "we think this is a secular trend that continues for a while — technology outperformance."

Interestingly, two of the sectors with the most buy ratings, energy and technology, are the two that enjoy the widest coverage by analysts.

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Michael Santoli

Michael Santoli joined CNBC in October 2015 as a Senior Markets Commentator, based at the network's Global Headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.  Santoli brings his extensive markets expertise to CNBC's Business Day programming, with a regular appearance on CNBC's “Closing Bell (M-F, 3PM-5PM ET).   In addition, he contributes to CNBCand CNBC PRO, writing regular articles and creating original digital videos.

Previously, Santoli was a Senior Columnist at Yahoo Finance, where he wrote analysis and commentary on the stock market, corporate news and the economy. He also appeared on Yahoo Finance video programs, where he offered insights on the most important business stories of the day, and was a regular contributor to CNBC and other networks.

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