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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 down 1 percent, with only about half (238) of the index components outperforming the overall market. Among these companies, CNBC.com looked at the ones that are up over 2 percent year-to-date, which is greater than the yield of the 10-year US Treasury note, the risk-free rate. The stocks listed here have average consensus estimates farthest above their current stock prices. The prices and analyst estimates presented here are as of the market close on December 21, 2011.

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

By Giovanny Moreano& Paul Toscano
Posted 21 Dec 2011

Photo: John W Banagan | Getty Images