|Mark Purcell & team|
Rising one rung to third place is Barclayss four-strong squad helmed by Mark Purcell, who also leads a runner-up crew in Biotechnology. The team provides good analysis and stock picks, according to one portfolio manager. The analysts report on 13 companies and continue to highlight their overweight rating of Switzerland-based Roche Holding, which they have been recommending since February 2011 on the strength of its product pipeline. Last year the stock rose by 15.6 percent and led the sector by 3.5 percentage points and it remains a favorite. In August the team moved another Swiss pharmaceuticals concern, Shire, from equal weight to overweight. Shire lacks the portfolio breadth and predictability of a big pharma company and carries more risk but that is a good thing, in our view, as Shires pipeline potential packs more punch, and its collection of assets also lacks the creaking venerability of big pharma, Purcell says. The upgrade appears to have been premature, however. The stock slid 6.4 percent by the end of the year; during the same period the sector was flat.