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.

5. Chevron ( CVX) is the world's second-largest energy company, after fellow Dow component Exxon Mobil ( XOM).

But, analysts favor Chevron's stock, which receives positive reviews from 76% of researchers in coverage. In contrast, Exxon receives positive reviews from 42% of analysts, ranking third-worst in the Dow. Chevron is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Jan. 28. Its third-quarter adjusted earnings tally of $1.87 (reflecting 8.7% year-over-year growth) missed the consensus forecast of $2.15 by 13%, sending shares down modestly. The sales figure, at $49 billion, missed by 1.9%. Chevron has integrated global operations and sells at a peer discount.

Its stock trades at a trailing earnings multiple of 11, a forward earnings multiple of 8.9, a book value multiple of 1.8, a sales multiple of 1 and a cash flow multiple of 6.2, 43%, 52%, 58%, 67% and 32% discounts to oil-and-gas industry averages. Based on forward earnings, Chevron is the fourth cheapest Dow stock. It also pays a 72 cent quarterly dividend, translating to a 3.1% dividend yield, seventh highest in the Dow. It has boosted the payout 7.9% a year, on average, over a three-year span and 10% a year, on average, over a five-year span. Chevron has $15 billion of cash, compared to $11 billion of debt.

Bullish Scenario: Macquarie expects Chevron's stock to rise 21% to $114 in 12 months.

Bearish Scenario: JPMorgan, despite rating Chevron "overweight", has a $90 target.

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