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Where Are Analysts Most Optimistic on Ratings for S&P 500 Companies for Q1 2019?

Companies and Earnings

By John Butters  |  March 15, 2019

With the end of the first quarter 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 11,021 ratings on stocks in the S&P 500. Of these 11,021 ratings, 53.6% are Buy ratings, 40.3% are Hold ratings, and 6.0% are Sell ratings.

At the sector level, analysts are most optimistic on the Energy (67%), Health Care (60%), and Communication Services (59%) sectors, as these three sectors have the highest percentages of Buy ratings. It is interesting to note that the Energy sector is projected to report the largest earnings decline (-12.6%) of all 11 sectors in CY 2019.

Percentage of Buy Hold and Sell Ratings

On the other hand, analysts are most pessimistic about the Consumer Staples (40%), Utilities (43%), and Real Estate (45%) sectors, as these three sectors have the lowest percentages of Buy ratings. The Consumer Staples sector also has the highest percentage of Hold ratings (50%) and the highest percentage of Sell ratings (11%).

At the company level, the 10 stocks in the S&P 500 (with a minimum of three analysts submitting ratings) with the highest percentages of Buy ratings and the highest percentages of Sell ratings are listed on the next page.

Since December 31, the total number of ratings on S&P 500 companies has decreased by 0.8% (to 11,021 from 11,112). The number of Buy ratings has decreased by 3.2% (to 5,911 from 6,107). Nine sectors have witnessed a decrease in Buy ratings, led by the Utilities (-11%) sector. Two sectors have seen an increase in Buy ratings, led by the Energy (+1%) sector. The number of Hold ratings has increased by 0.3% (to 4,445 from 4,430). Four sectors have witnessed an increase in Hold ratings, led by the Financials (+10%) and Materials (+10%) sectors. Six sectors have recorded a decrease in Hold ratings, led by the Utilities (-12%) sector. The Communication Services sector (0%) has seen no change in the number of Hold ratings. The number of Sell ratings has increased by 15.7% (to 665 from 575). Ten sectors have seen an increase in Sell ratings, led by the Materials (+33%) and Health Care (+29%) sectors. The Energy sector (0%) has seen no change in the number of Sell ratings.

 

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

Company

Buy

Hold

Sell

Total

Amazon.com, Inc.

100%

0%

0%

100%

Marathon Petroleum Corporation

100%

0%

0%

100%

Keysight Technologies Inc

100%

0%

0%

100%

Diamondback Energy, Inc.

97%

3%

0%

100%

UnitedHealth Group Incorporated

96%

4%

0%

100%

Equinix, Inc.

96%

4%

0%

100%

Alphabet Inc. Class A

95%

5%

0%

100%

Alphabet Inc. Class C

95%

5%

0%

100%

LKQ Corporation

94%

6%

0%

100%

AMETEK, Inc.

94%

0%

6%

100%

* Minimum of 3 analysts contributing ratings

 

 

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

Company

Buy

Hold

Sell

Total

Franklin Resources, Inc.

0%

47%

53%

100%

Campbell Soup Company

18%

29%

53%

100%

Torchmark Corporation

30%

20%

50%

100%

Public Storage

0%

54%

46%

100%

Garmin Ltd.

0%

60%

40%

100%

Consolidated Edison, Inc.

0%

63%

37%

100%

Robert Half International Inc.

21%

43%

36%

100%

J.M. Smucker Company

11%

56%

33%

100%

Omnicom Group Inc

20%

47%

33%

100%

Western Union Company

17%

52%

30%

100%

* Minimum of 3 analysts contributing ratings

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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