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20 Stocks With The Potential To Pop

It's the basic question when investing in a stock: is it on the way up or down?

To answer this question, the street has developed numerous ways of attempting to predict what will happen, estimating various attributes tied to stock performance in order to determine what the future holds for a company's valuation. After dissecting the data, analysts following a particular stock produce a price target of where they believe the stock is headed.

So far this year, the S&P 500 is up nearly 9 percent, with only about half (249) of the index components outperforming the overall market. Stocks with positive performance this year, CNBC’s Analytics teamlooked at the ones that have average consensus estimates farthest above their current stock prices. All values including analysts’ estimates are as of the market close on March 8, 2012.

So, which stocks are analysts expecting to have the biggest pops? Click ahead to find out!

Click here to see how last quarter's "Stocks with the Potential to Pop" have performed since the list was published.

By Giovanny Moreano & Paul Toscano
Posted 8 March 2012

Photo: John W Banagan | Getty Images