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There are still some unloved stocks in the much loved tech sector

  • Tech is still the top space for active fund managers.
  • Alphabet's A shares are the favorite pick in the sector.
  • Fund managers are warming up to real estate.
Alphabet Google
Pascal Rossignol | Reuters

Technology stocks remain the most popular place to be for active managers according to a new Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey released Tuesday, but there are still some names in the hot sector that are 'under-owned' by investors.

The stocks that are most loved by active managers in the space include Alphabet's Class A shares, which are held by 58 percent of the funds in the survey. Facebook is held by 53 percent of the funds, Visa, by 52 percent of the funds and Mastercard, held by 38 percent. Texas Instruments, and Salesforce also ranked among the most popular stocks held by fund managers in the technology sector.

The Nasdaq 100 is up 21 percent so far in 2017, far outpacing the Dow which is up eleven percent and the S&P 500 which is up ten point five percent year to date.

If you're looking for under-crowded trades in the tech sector, IBM is owned by only 20 percent of funds investing in the tech space. That stock is down 12.5 percent so far in 2017.

Also on the list of stocks that are under-owned by funds in the tech sector; Seagate Technology which is down 12 percent this year after seeing a big run up in the first quarter of the year. Akamai made the list as well, it is down 29 percent this year. FLIR Systems is up just two percent this year. Advanced Micro Devices is also on the under-owned list, but it's one case where fund managers missed out, it's up 21 percent year to date.

A big surprise in this month's survey is that Bank of America Merrill Lynch sees pick up in the real estate sector. The note says "we expected managers would gradually reduce their underweight in real estate post sector-breakout, and in recent months this thesis has played out." The real estate sector is up 6.5 percent this year, ranking it eighth of the eleven S&P sectors.

The top holding in this sector by far is American Tower Corporation, held by 26 percent of the funds included in the survey. The stock is up 28 percent year to date. The second most widely held stock in the sector is Crown Castle International, which is held by just 14 percent of funds.

Among the real estate stocks that are the least favored by fund managers, Realty Income Corporation which is owned by just one percent of funds, the stock is flat this year. Federal Realty Investment Trust, also owned by just one percent of funds is down five percent this year. Extra Space Storage, Macerich and UDR are also owned by just one percent of funds. Those stocks up two percent, down 18 percent and up seven percent respectively.