BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Are technology stocks the darlings of Wall Street again a decade after the dot-com bubble burst? If analysts' recommendations are a guide, the answer is "yes."
Apple (AAPL - Get Report), Google (GOOG) and other tech stocks are the most adored by Wall Street analysts. Based on recommendations from researchers, they take the top five ranks with no fewer than 35 "buy" ratings each. While many have a larger number of analysts following them, tech still ranks higher than energy names such as Halliburton (HAL) and Schlumberger (SLB).
Many of the top-ranked stocks earned their "buy" ratings after showing sustained growth in revenue and earnings over the past few quarters. But tech stocks have also become favored recently as mergers and initial public offerings are announced at a breakneck pace. According to Renaissance Capital's IPO Home, there have been 19 technology IPOs this year, the most of any sector.
And on the M&A front, more than $94 billion in tech deals have been announced this year, already the highest total since 2000, according to Dealogic. Most recently, Microsoft (MSFT) revealed the $8.5 billion acquisition of video-software company Skype.Still, some investors have been tentative about technology stocks. According to data provided by Morningstar (MORN), inflows to tech-centric mutual funds were $416 million in January and $225 million in February. That was followed by two months of outflows of $606 million and $259 million in March and April, respectively. Analysts, bullish on companies' order books and wide profit margins, put tech stocks at the top of their list. Several other technology companies round out the list of the most highly recommended stocks. EMC (EMC), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Salesforce.com (CRM), Broadcom (BRCM), Juniper Networks (JNPR) and Microsoft all rank in top 20. Five tech heavyweights, in particular, are favored by Wall Street. The five that rank highest are arranged below in order of total "buy" ratings.