'20 Stocks with the Potential to Pop' Outpops the S&P

Each quarter near the end of earnings season, we look at the stocks in the S&P 500 to see which ones are trading at the greatest discounts and premiums to their analysts' consensus target prices. We publish the lists in our 20 Stocks to Pop / Drop series (be on the lookout for the NEWEST list of 20 stocks to pop after the bell on Friday, 5/21). Now, that we are near the end of the latest earnings season, here is a check on how the 20 stocks we looked at in February have performed.

Per Thomson Reuters, the source of the consensus data, the mean analyst estimates are typically based on forward 12-month price target estimates. That being said, some of the "20 Stocks to Pop" listed after the close on February 23 (See slideshow here) have gotten an early jump.

12 of the 20 stocks are up in the past three months and the entire group is up 4.4%, as of Friday's close. That compares to the overall S&P 500 which is up 3.8% over the same period. Five stocks on the list are up over 10% while nine have underperformed relative to the S&P. Could it be that the analysts criticized so much during the market's nosedive are back to making some good calls? As of now, they seem to have a very slight edge.

The stock that has popped the most so far has been Sprint, up over 30% since Feb 23. Here are the 5 biggest gainers from the February list (as of Friday's close):

  • Sprint: +30.5% since February 23
  • El Paso : +19.6% since February 23
  • Citigroup : +18.8% since February 23
  • Gamestop : +15.8% since February 23
  • Tenet Healthcare : +11.1% since February 23

The most disappointing performance so far is Chesapeake Energy , down 14% since the end of Feb.

See the complete Q1 lists of pops and drops and check back later this week for the new Q2 list:

Check bythenumbers.cnbc.com for future updates and new lists.

Comments? Send them to bythenumbers@cnbc.com