It is not unusual to see most research on Wall Street pretty much line up either for or against a company. Analysts typically look at the same metrics in the balance sheet and the fundamentals and often come up with the same opinions as each other. It can be refreshing when a firm looks at where the street may be wrong and makes a concentrated effort to find upside or downside by taking a contrarian stance. The research team at Jefferies screened their stock coverage universe for stocks rated either Buy or Underperform where the Wall Street consensus price target was less than 30% of the respective Jefferies rating.
We also screened the stocks that were contrarian stocks to buy, according to Jefferies, with the largest upside to the posted price target. To be sure, it is a mixed bag of names. Here are the contrarian stocks to buy with the largest upside to their price target.
Limelight Networks Inc. (NASDAQ: LLNW) is a stock to buy with an upside potential of 90%. Limelight Networks met expectations on revenues and exceeded expectations on earnings per share for the first quarter of 2013. The Jefferies price target is $4. The Thomson/First Call estimate is $3.
Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd. (NYSE: GNK) was an $84 stock in May of 2008. Its market cap has slid from $2.4 billion to just above $60 million. Following an amended agreement with its lenders in August 2012, GNK is currently enjoying temporary immunity from debt repayments and waivers for most of its debt covenants until December 31, 2013. Jefferies has a $4 target, but the consensus estimate is $1. This is a very controversial call and only suitable for the most aggressive trading accounts.
Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA) is a name we have covered before in the obesity drug business. The stock has surged just a week and a half ahead of the launch of its anti-obesity drug Belviq. The Jefferies price target is $12. The consensus is at $8.
Rackspace Hosting Inc. (NYSE: RAX) strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its compelling growth in net income, robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, good cash flow from operations and expanding profit margins. The Jefferies target is $60, but the consensus estimate for the stock is at $45.50.
Freightcar America Inc. (NASDAQ: RAIL) constructs the cars that the major railroads use. In the first quarter of 2012, strength in coal sales pushed railcar deliveries to more than 2,600 units. Yet, in its recently reported quarter, railcar deliveries slumped to just 1,073 units as coal shipments remained weak. The good news for the company is natural gas prices have doubled over the past year, making coal a considerably more attractive option once again for electric utilities. The Jefferies price target is $23. The consensus is at $18. Investors are paid a 1.40% dividend.
RadiSys Corp. (NASDAQ: RSYS) provides wireless infrastructure solutions for the telecom, aerospace and defense markets. Jefferies has a $7 price target for the stock, while the consensus is at $5.75.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) recently replaced its longtime CEO Aubrey McClendon. The company saw its share price depreciate after negative news surfaced concerning the company’s management and spiraling debt picture. Given that natural gas pricing has improved, this could be a top stock to buy. The Jefferies price target is $26. The consensus target is $22. Investors are paid a 1.60% dividend.
It is pretty easy to spot the contrarian nature of the Jefferies stocks to buy. The price targets on all these names are much higher than street consensus. Investors should remember that while the contrarian play may hold large upside if Jefferies is right, the stocks may have more potential downside than some if they are wrong.