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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 about 16 percent, with less than half (197) 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. Companies which have seen their values drop by more than 10 percent YTD are excluded from this list, in order to compensate for any time lag in analyst estimates. All values including analysts’ estimates are as of the market close on September 21, 2012. All data in this story is sourced from Capital IQ and Thomson Reuters.

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

By Giovanny Moreano & Paul Toscano
Posted 21 Sept 2012

Photo: John W Banagan | Getty Images