BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Crude oil futures fell on Friday for a fourth consecutive day, with contracts dropping beneath $90 a barrel. Chinese monetary tightening and a report from the Energy Department signaling rising inventories hurt the commodity.However, a robust global recovery has some Wall Street analysts predicting a move past $100 in 2011. Energy stocks typically perform well at this stage in the economic cycle and the recent pullback, with S&P 500 oil-and-gas stocks flat last week, is creating a setup for those who want energy exposure. Large-cap oil-and-gas stocks have jumped an average of 5.7% in the past four weeks, ranking as the best-performing industry group, as investors have rotated into equities poised to benefit from accelerating growth. By comparison, oil-and-gas was the fifth worst-performing industry group in 2010 and ranks as the third worst-performing group over a three-year period. Peak profits were achieved in 2008 when crude spiked to almost $150 a barrel shortly before the Great Recession took hold. Many large-cap energy stocks are still historically cheap. Here is a closer look at the five highest-rated large-cap oil-and-gas stocks, based on analysts' aggregate reviews. Below, they are ordered by percentage of "buy" ratings, from plenty to most. Of note: 58% of crude-oil forecasters surveyed by Bloomberg expect a decline through Jan. 28, perhaps hurting oil-related stocks. The recent strength in these equities is a signal of longer-term prospects, but it's best to wait for a pullback in order to buy shares.
-- Written by Jake Lynch in Boston.
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