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Where Are Analysts Most Optimistic on Ratings for S&P 500 Companies For 2019?

Companies and Earnings

By John Butters  |  December 14, 2018

With the end of the year approaching, where are analysts most optimistic and pessimistic in terms of their ratings on stocks in the S&P 500? How have their views changed over the past few months?

Overall, there are 11,136 ratings on stocks in the S&P 500. Of these 11,136 ratings, 53.9% are Buy ratings, 40.8% are Hold ratings, and 5.3% are Sell ratings.

At the sector level, analysts are most optimistic on the Energy (66%), Health Care (59%), Communication Services (59%), and Materials (58%) sectors, as these four sectors have highest percentages of Buy ratings.

On the other hand, analysts are most pessimistic about the Consumer Staples (40%), Utilities (44%), and Real Estate (44%) sectors, as these three sectors have the lowest percentage of Buy ratings. The Real Estate sector also has the highest percentage of Hold ratings (51%), while the Consumer Staples sector has the highest percentage of Sell ratings (10%).

Since September 30, the total number of ratings on S&P 500 companies has increased by 1.6% (to 11,136 from 10,957).

Sector-Level Breakdown

The number of Buy ratings has increased by 4.2% (to 6,001 from 5,757). Ten sectors have witnessed an increase in Buy ratings, led by the Energy (+18%) sector. The Consumer Staples (-7%) sector is the only sector that has seen a decrease in Buy ratings. The number of Hold ratings has decreased by 0.6% (to 4,543 from 4,569). Seven sectors have recorded a decrease in Hold ratings, led by the Energy (-11%) sector. Four sectors have witnessed an increase in Hold ratings, led by the Information Technology (+11%) sector. The number of Sell ratings has decreased by 6.2% (to 592 from 631). Seven sectors have a recorded a decrease in Sell ratings, led by the Communication Services        (-25%), Consumer Discretionary (-19%), and Energy (-13%) sectors. Three sectors have seen an increase in Sell ratings, led by the Real Estate (+15%) sector.

  Percentage of Buy hold and Sell Ratings

 

Highest Buy Ratings % in S&P 500: Top 10 (Source: FactSet)

Company

Buy

Hold

Sell

Total

Marathon Petroleum Corporation

100%

0%

0%

100%

Keysight Technologies Inc

100%

0%

0%

100%

Jefferies Financial Group Inc.

100%

0%

0%

100%

Amazon.com, Inc.

98%

2%

0%

100%

LKQ Corporation

94%

6%

0%

100%

Diamondback Energy, Inc.

94%

6%

0%

100%

E*TRADE Financial Corporation

94%

6%

0%

100%

Alphabet Inc. Class A

93%

7%

0%

100%

Alphabet Inc. Class C

93%

7%

0%

100%

Pioneer Natural Resources Co.

93%

7%

0%

100%

 

Highest Sell Ratings % in S&P 500: Top 10 (Source: FactSet)

Company

Buy

Hold

Sell

Total

Public Storage

6%

47%

47%

100%

Torchmark Corporation

18%

36%

45%

100%

Campbell Soup Company

17%

39%

44%

100%

Robert Half International Inc.

29%

36%

36%

100%

Southern Company

24%

43%

33%

100%

Franklin Resources, Inc.

0%

67%

33%

100%

Omnicom Group Inc

20%

47%

33%

100%

Consolidated Edison, Inc.

5%

63%

32%

100%

Expeditors Intl. of Washington, Inc.

13%

56%

31%

100%

Western Union Company

17%

52%

30%

100%

 

Download the latest Earnings Insight

John Butters

Senior Earnings Analyst

John’s weekly research report, Earnings Insight provides analysis and commentary on trends in corporate earnings data for the S&P 500, including revisions to estimates, year-over-year growth, performance relative to expectations, and valuations. He is a widely used source for the media and has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News, and the Business News Network. In addition, he has been cited by numerous print and online publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The New York Times, MarketWatch, and Yahoo! Finance.

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