(This is the first in a three-part series listing highly rated stocks that sell-side analysts expect to rise the most over the next 12 months. This article covers large-cap stocks. Part 2 covers mid-cap stocks and part 3 covers small-caps.)

What a difference a year makes.

At this time in 2018, investors were in the midst of a crumbling stock market on fears of an impending recession.

Fast-forward to Dec. 9, 2019, and the S&P 500 Index

SPX, +0.49%

 was up 27.5% for this year, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, +0.28%

 was up 22.5%. The estimated GDP growth rate for the third quarter was 2.1%, and the November employment figures were full of very good news.

With hourly wages continuing to rise at a faster rate than the economy is growing, and unemployment at its lowest rate (3.5%) in 50 years, Goldman Sachs recommended investors focus on companies with low labor costs relative to revenue.

Analysts’ favorite stocks among the S&P 500

Here are the 20 S&P 500 stocks covered by at least five sell-side analysts with 75% or more “buy” or equivalent ratings that have the highest 12-month upside potential implied by consensus price targets:

Company Ticker Share ‘buy’ ratings Share neutral ratings Share ‘sell’ ratings Closing price – Dec. 9 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Total return – 2019 through Dec. 9
TechnipFMC PLC

FTI, +0.15%

78% 19% 3% $18.85 $28.73 52% -1%
Diamondback Energy Inc.

FANG, +0.62%

97% 3% 0% $83.78 $124.00 48% -9%
Marathon Petroleum Corp.

MPC, +0.79%

89% 11% 0% $58.43 $80.65 38% 3%
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

ALXN, -1.34%

83% 17% 0% $112.48 $151.10 34% 16%
Pioneer Natural Resources Co.

PXD, +0.26%

90% 10% 0% $133.19 $178.01 34% 2%
EOG Resources Inc.

EOG, +1.74%

86% 14% 0% $74.51 $98.97 33% -14%
Concho Resources Inc.

CXO, +1.29%

79% 18% 3% $76.58 $100.74 32% -25%
Noble Energy Inc.

NBL, +1.28%

83% 17% 0% $21.81 $28.45 30% 19%
Baker Hughes Co. Class A

BKR, +0.48%

86% 14% 0% $22.25 $28.82 30% 7%
L3Harris Technologies Inc.

LHX, +1.31%

95% 5% 0% $193.62 $246.61 27% 46%
DuPont de Nemours Inc.

DD, -0.63%

77% 23% 0% $63.84 $80.68 26% -14%
NRG Energy Inc.

NRG, +0.77%

80% 10% 10% $38.56 $48.22 25% -2%
Amazon.com Inc.

AMZN, -0.32%

96% 4% 0% $1,749.51 $2,178.08 24% 16%
PayPal Holdings Inc.

PYPL, -0.12%

81% 17% 2% $103.78 $127.67 23% 23%
Lincoln National Corp.

LNC, -0.20%

79% 21% 0% $57.92 $70.79 22% 16%
salesforce.com Inc.

CRM, +0.75%

93% 7% 0% $157.48 $190.31 21% 15%
Quanta Services Inc.

PWR, +1.15%

86% 14% 0% $40.49 $48.79 20% 35%
Williams Companies Inc.

WMB, +1.28%

79% 21% 0% $22.90 $27.59 20% 8%
T-Mobile US Inc.

TMUS, +0.23%

75% 25% 0% $75.87 $91.38 20% 19%
IQVIA Holdings Inc.

IQV, +4.18%

85% 10% 5% $146.40 $176.06 20% 26%
Source: FactSet

You can click on the tickers for more about each company.

Only five of these stocks are down this year. However, 18 have underperformed the S&P 500 this year. Mark Hulbert looked at the Dow stocks and found that the worst stocks in a given year tend to rebound the following year.

The energy sector has been the weakest among the 11 sectors of the S&P 500 this year, returning only 7%. But analysts are sticking with their favorites and expect a better 2020.

The Dow 30

Here are the 30 components of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, sorted by percentage of “buy” or equivalent ratings among analysts polled by FactSet:

Company Ticker Share ‘buy’ ratings Share neutral ratings Share ‘sell’ ratings Closing price – Dec. 9 Consensus price target Implied 12-month upside potential Total return – 2019 through Dec. 9
Visa Inc. Class A

V, +0.78%

92% 5% 3% $182.92 $205.18 12% 40%
Microsoft Corp.

MSFT, +1.09%

88% 12% 0% $151.36 $161.72 7% 51%
UnitedHealth Group Inc.

UNH, -0.69%

85% 15% 0% $277.54 $299.56 8% 13%
Merck & Co. Inc.

MRK, +1.77%

81% 19% 0% $88.72 $97.50 10% 18%
Walt Disney Co.

DIS, +0.50%

76% 20% 4% $146.21 $157.64 8% 34%
United Technologies Corp.

UTX, +0.52%

75% 25% 0% $146.22 $162.94 11% 40%
Nike Inc. Class B

NKE, -1.18%

73% 24% 3% $96.63 $104.66 8% 32%
McDonald’s Corp.

MCD, +0.04%

73% 27% 0% $194.68 $224.17 15% 12%
Chevron Corp.

CVX, +1.31%

72% 28% 0% $117.30 $136.09 16% 12%
Walmart Inc.

WMT, +0.17%

67% 30% 3% $119.36 $130.24 9% 31%
Coca-Cola Co.

KO, +1.20%

59% 41% 0% $54.07 $58.90 9% 18%
Johnson & Johnson

JNJ, +0.49%

58% 42% 0% $140.50 $150.47 7% 12%
Home Depot Inc.

HD, +0.44%

58% 39% 3% $216.53 $241.00 11% 29%
Cisco Systems Inc.

CSCO, -0.90%

57% 43% 0% $43.90 $52.43 19% 4%
Apple Inc.

AAPL, -0.21%

57% 29% 14% $266.92 $261.63 -2% 72%
Boeing Co.

BA, -1.65%

48% 52% 0% $351.21 $393.57 12% 11%
American Express Co.

AXP, +0.75%

46% 50% 4% $120.46 $133.04 10% 28%
Procter & Gamble Co.

PG, +0.35%

45% 46% 9% $124.87 $128.79 3% 40%
Caterpillar Inc.

CAT, +1.76%

44% 44% 12% $142.83 $143.64 1% 16%
Pfizer Inc.

PFE, +0.67%

42% 58% 0% $38.32 $41.89 9% -9%
Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

GS, -0.44%

40% 52% 8% $221.81 $237.68 7% 36%
JPMorgan Chase & Co.

JPM, -0.08%

40% 48% 12% $134.41 $125.00 -7% 42%
Intel Corp.

INTC, +1.71%

38% 41% 21% $56.53 $57.72 2% 23%
Dow Inc.

DOW, +0.17%

36% 59% 5% $53.27 $55.95 5% N/A
Verizon Communications Inc.

VZ, +2.09%

30% 70% 0% $61.01 $62.18 2% 13%
International Business Machines Corp.

IBM, +0.77%

29% 62% 9% $133.92 $149.17 11% 23%
Exxon Mobil Corp.

XOM, +0.79%

20% 76% 4% $69.66 $78.64 13% 7%
Travelers Companies Inc.

TRV, -0.03%

18% 65% 17% $135.45 $141.06 4% 16%
3M Co.

MMM, +1.87%

5% 79% 16% $169.83 $173.38 2% -8%
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

WBA, +1.11%

4% 78% 18% $58.71 $57.21 -3% -11%
Source: FactSet

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2019-12-21