BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Professional money managers are likely to continue to bet on the industrial materials and energy sectors this year, given the strong performance of those stocks last quarter.

In the case of mutual funds, sector allocations are influenced by a fund's style category, as well as its managers' outlook. Trying to draw conclusions from their allocations, which can include data more than 3 months old, is fruitless.

Indicative of the portfolio mix that diverse funds hold, Morningstar says the average fund in the large growth category has sector weightings of 13% to computer hardware, 12.6% to health care, 11.5% to industrial materials, 10.3% to financial services, and 7.7% to energy. At the other end of the spectrum, small-cap value funds are on average: 25% financial services, 16.8% industrial materials, 8.6% consumer goods, 8% energy and 5% utilities.

But sector investment returns late in the year could be used as a proxy for what investors are betting on in 2011 and serve as a starting point for go-with-the-flow investors.

In that case, it's clear that the industrial materials and energy stock sectors are where the action is, as they showed the most appreciation out of the 12 industries tracked by Morningstar over both the fourth quarter and December.

Industrial materials stocks, which include stocks of companies involved in the production of chemicals, industrial gases and fertilizer, gained 16.4% in the fourth quarter, including 8.8% in December, resulting in a 31% jump for the year, the best of all sectors, according to Morningstar data. That sector has also been the top performer over the past three-year and five-year periods.

In contrast, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index returned 13% in 2010.

Energy stocks also closed out the year with a bang, benefiting from rising international demand and oil supply concerns. The sector closed out 2010 with a 15.5% fourth-quarter gain, about half that coming in December. Energy stocks were up an average of 13.8% in 2010.

The consumer services sector, which includes retailing, restaurants, auto resellers and vacation companies, was the third-best performing sector in 2010 and in the fourth quarter with a 12.8% return in the period. The media sector, which includes print, broadcast and Internet services companies, was the second-best performer in 2010 with a 29% return, including 11% in the fourth quarter.

The computer software and hardware sectors, which are tracked separately, each closed out 2010 with roughly 23% returns.

What follows is a look at some prominent names money managers may be looking at in 2011.

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