Where Analysts Are Most Optimistic And Pessimistic On Company Ratings For 2021

With the end of the year just days away, Factset looked at where sell-side analysts are most optimistic and pessimistic in their ratings for S&P 500 stocks for 2021, and also how have their views changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Factset's John Butters summarizes, there are a total of 10,361 ratings on stocks in the S&P 500. Of these 10,361 ratings, 53.6% are Buy ratings, 39.6% are Hold ratings, and 6.8% are Sell ratings.

Curiously, at the sector level, analysts are most optimistic on the one sector that has been most beaten down in 2020 - Energy (62%) - followed by Health Care (60%), and Information Technology (59%) as these three sectors have highest percentages of Buy ratings. On the other hand, analysts are most pessimistic about the Real Estate (46%), Consumer Staples (47%), and Financials (48%) sectors, as these three sectors have the lowest percentages of Buy ratings. The Real Estate (46%) and Financials (46%) sectors also have the highest percentages of Hold ratings, while the Consumer Staples (10%) sector also have the highest percentage of Sell ratings.

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At the company level, the 10 stocks in the S&P 500 with the highest percentages of Buy ratings and the highest percentages of Sell ratings are listed in the tables below.

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Based on the percentage of Buy ratings on S&P 500 stocks, it is interesting to note that analysts are more optimistic on S&P 500 stocks today compared to the start of the 2020 (before the impact of COVID-19), and with the S&P500 trading above 3,700 - an all-time high. On December 31, 50.6% of ratings on S&P 500 stocks were Buy ratings, compared to 53.6% today. Nine sectors have a higher percentage of Buy ratings today compared to the start of the year, led by the Utilities (to 51% from 42%) and Consumer Staples (to 47% from 39%) sectors. On the other hand, just two sectors have a lower percentage of Buy ratings today compared to the start of the year: Communication Services (to 55% from 60%) and Energy (to 62% from 66%).

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