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20 Stocks with the Potential to Pop

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. With data from Thomson Reuters, CNBC.com took a look at
Photo: John W Banagan | Getty Images

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

20. CIGNA (CI)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-cigna.jpg
Potential to Pop: 24.06% Mean Price Target: $54.07 Closing Price (3/8): $43.58 Number of Analysts: 15 High Estimate: $61 Low Estimate: $45
Photo: Bradley C. Bower | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 24.06%
Mean Price Target: $54.07
Closing Price (3/8): $43.58

Number of Analysts: 15
High Estimate: $61
Low Estimate: $45

Get CI Real-Time Quote

19. Lincoln National (LNC)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-lincoln-national.jpg
Potential to Pop: 23.25% Mean Price Target: $29.84 Closing Price (3/8): $24.21 Number of Analysts: 16 High Estimate: $41 Low Estimate: $22
Photo: lfg.com

Potential to Pop: 23.25%
Mean Price Target: $29.84
Closing Price (3/8): $24.21

Number of Analysts: 16
High Estimate: $41
Low Estimate: $22

Get LNC Real-Time Quote

18. Gilead Sciences (GILD)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-gilead.jpg
Potential to Pop: 26.87% Mean Price Target: $57.70 Closing Price (3/8): $45.48 Number of Analysts: 23 High Estimate: $67 Low Estimate: $45
Photo: David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 24.01%
Mean Price Target: $57.70
Closing Price (3/8): $46.53

Number of Analysts: 23
High Estimate: $67
Low Estimate: $45

Get GILD Real-Time Quote

17. Owens Illinois (OI)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-owens.jpg
Potential to Pop: 29.77% Mean Price Target: $29.44 Closing Price (3/8): $22.69 Number of Analysts: 9 High Estimate: $35 Low Estimate: $26
Photo: Mike Fuentes | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 29.77%
Mean Price Target: $29.44
Closing Price (3/8): $23.68

Number of Analysts: 9
High Estimate: $35
Low Estimate: $26

Get OI Real-Time Quote

16. Morgan Stanley (MS)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-morgan-stanely.jpg
Potential to Pop: 26.62% Mean Price Target: $22.64 Closing Price (3/8): $17.88 Number of Analysts: 25 High Estimate: $30 Low Estimate: $17
Photo: Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 24.53%
Mean Price Target: $22.64
Closing Price (3/8): $18.18

Number of Analysts: 25
High Estimate: $30
Low Estimate: $17

Get MS Real-Time Quote

15. MetLife Inc (MET)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-metlife.jpg
Potential to Pop: 26.22% Mean Price Target: $47.82 Closing Price (3/8): $37.89 Number of Analysts: 17 High Estimate: $60 Low Estimate: $40
Photo: Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 25.54%
Mean Price Target: $47.82
Closing Price (3/8): $38.09

Number of Analysts: 17
High Estimate: $60
Low Estimate: $40

Get MET Real-Time Quote

14. Devon Energy (DVN)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-devon-energy.jpg
Potential to Pop: 25.64% Mean Price Target: $90.64 Closing Price (3/8): $72.18 Number of Analysts: 27 High Estimate: $135 Low Estimate: $70
Photo: Jimmy Jeong | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 25.70%
Mean Price Target: $90.64
Closing Price (3/8): $72.15

Number of Analysts: 27
High Estimate: $135
Low Estimate: $70

Get DVN Real-Time Quote

13. Johnson Controls (JCI)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-johnson.jpg
Potential to Pop: 28.79% Mean Price Target: $40.26 Closing Price (3/8): $31.26 Number of Analysts: 23 High Estimate: $53 Low Estimate: $33
Photo: Fabrice Dimier | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 25.97%
Mean Price Target: $40.26
Closing Price (3/8): $31.96

Number of Analysts: 23
High Estimate: $53
Low Estimate: $33

Get JCI Real-Time Quote

12. Hess Corp (HES)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-hess.jpg
Photo: Emile Wamsteker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 26.22%
Mean Price Target: $81.49
Closing Price (3/8): $64.56

Number of Analysts: 14
High Estimate: $105
Low Estimate: $62

Get HES Real-Time Quote

11. Noble Energy (NBL)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-noble-energy.jpg
Potential to Pop: 26.52% Mean Price Target: $120.76 Closing Price (3/8): $95.45 Number of Analysts: 21 High Estimate: $145 Low Estimate: $99
Photo: Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 26.52%
Mean Price Target: $120.76
Closing Price (3/8): $95.45

Number of Analysts: 21
High Estimate: $145
Low Estimate: $99

Get NBL Real-Time Quote

10. The Hartford Financial Services Group (HIG)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-the-hartford-financial.jpg
Potential to Pop: 31.82% Mean Price Target: $25.69 Closing Price (3/8): $19.49 Number of Analysts: 13 High Estimate: $36 Low Estimate: $21
Photo: Steve Miller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 28.97%
Mean Price Target: $25.69
Closing Price (3/8): $19.92

Number of Analysts: 13
High Estimate: $36
Low Estimate: $21

Get HIG Real-Time Quote

9. Ford Motor (F)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-ford.jpg
Potential to Pop: 31.30% Mean Price Target: $16.07 Closing Price (3/8): $12.24 Number of Analysts: 14 High Estimate: $19 Low Estimate: $12
Photo: Jeff Kowalsky | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 28.97%
Mean Price Target: $16.07
Closing Price (3/8): $12.46

Number of Analysts: 14
High Estimate: $19
Low Estimate: $12

Get F Real-Time Quote

8. Joy Global (JOY)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-joy-global.jpg
Potential to Pop: 31.97% Mean Price Target: $104.83 Closing Price (3/8): $79.44 Number of Analysts: 12 High Estimate: $114 Low Estimate: $92
Photo: P&H Mining Equipment

Potential to Pop: 29.36%
Mean Price Target: $104.83
Closing Price (3/8): $81.04

Number of Analysts: 12
High Estimate: $114
Low Estimate: $92

Get JOY Real-Time Quote

7. JDS Uniphase (JDSU)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-JDS.jpg
Potential to Pop: 33.79% Mean Price Target: $17.13 Closing Price (3/8): $12.80 Number of Analysts: 12 High Estimate: $19 Low Estimate: $14.50
Photo: Noah Berger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 30.27%
Mean Price Target: $17.13
Closing Price (3/8): $13.15

Number of Analysts: 12
High Estimate: $19
Low Estimate: $14.50

Get JDSU Real-Time Quote

6. Denbury Resources (DNR)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-denbury.jpg
Potential to Pop: 36.51% Mean Price Target: $25.72 Closing Price (3/8): $18.84 Number of Analysts: 16 High Estimate: $33 Low Estimate: $19
Photo: Denbury Resources Inc.

Potential to Pop: 34.45%
Mean Price Target: $25.72
Closing Price (3/8): $19.13

Number of Analysts: 16
High Estimate: $33
Low Estimate: $19

Get DNR Real-Time Quote

5. QEP Resources (QEP)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-QEP.jpg
Potential to Pop: 36.62% Mean Price Target: $43.73 Closing Price (3/8): $32.01 Number of Analysts: 13 High Estimate: $53 Low Estimate: $35
Photo: Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 35.30%
Mean Price Target: $43.73
Closing Price (3/8): $32.32

Number of Analysts: 13
High Estimate: $53
Low Estimate: $35

Get QEP Real-Time Quote

4. Nabors Industries (NBR)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-nabors.jpg
Potential to Pop: 39.06% Mean Price Target: $27.49 Closing Price (3/8): $19.77 Number of Analysts: 23 High Estimate: $34 Low Estimate: $21
Photo: Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 35.62%
Mean Price Target: $27.49
Closing Price (3/8): $20.27

Number of Analysts: 23
High Estimate: $34
Low Estimate: $21

Get NBR Real-Time Quote

3. Freeport-McMoRan (FCX)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-freeport.jpg
Potential to Pop: 39.17% Mean Price Target: $54.26 Closing Price (3/8): $38.99 Number of Analysts: 19 High Estimate: $66 Low Estimate: $40
Photo: Brendan Ryan | Gallo Images | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 37.37%
Mean Price Target: $54.26
Closing Price (3/8): $39.50

Number of Analysts: 19
High Estimate: $66
Low Estimate: $40

Get FCX Real-Time Quote

2. Halliburton (HAL)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-halliburton.jpg
Potential to Pop: 44.54% Mean Price Target: $50.27 Closing Price (3/8): $34.78 Number of Analysts: 28 High Estimate: $67 Low Estimate: $38.50
Photo: Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images

Potential to Pop: 44.54%
Mean Price Target: $50.27
Closing Price (3/8): $34.78

Number of Analysts: 28
High Estimate: $67
Low Estimate: $38.50

Get HAL Real-Time Quote

1. Sprint Nextel (S)

20-stocks-with-the-potential-to-pop-0312-sprint.jpg
Potential to Pop: 56.23% Mean Price Target: $3.80 Closing Price (3/8): $2.43 Number of Analysts: 27 High Estimate: $11 Low Estimate: $1

Potential to Pop: 46.15%
Mean Price Target: $3.80
Closing Price (3/8): $2.60

Number of Analysts: 27
High Estimate: $11
Low Estimate: $1

Get S Real-Time Quote