Credit Suisse’s Top Contrarian Stocks to Buy

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In a new research report, Credit Suisse analysts highlight contrarian stocks to buy that go against the grain of most Wall Street consensus. That might be just the type of stocks for investors to look at now with first-quarter earnings right around the corner.

While many firms on Wall Street are reducing the overall weighting in stocks for the balance of the year due to increasing economic and political headwinds, most firms remain positive on the year overall. The Credit Suisse team sees the S&P 500 at 1,960 by year end, citing numerous second half positives that are supportive of stocks.

Here are some of the top contrarian stock picks from Credit Suisse. The stocks are rated Outperform.

Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF) is a contrarian call right out of the chute. The company saw its fourth-quarter sales decline 12% year over year. The Credit Suisse analysts expect the company to price its product appropriately in the marketplace and recapture shares as core consumers do still have a (modest) preference for its brands when priced appropriately. Investors are paid a decent 2% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target for the troubled retailer is $52. The Thomson/First Call estimate is much lower at $42.61. The stock closed Friday at $38.78 a share.

Eaton Vance Corp. (NYSE: EV) is a somewhat neglected mutual fund and closed-end fund money manager. Credit Suisse believes that recent underperformance provides a buying opportunity for long-term investors as the firm sees net asset flows improving in 2014. The company pays investors a 2.3% dividend. Credit Suisse has a $43 price target, and the consensus target is $39.41. Eaton Vance closed Friday at $37.78.

Fusion-io Inc. (NYSE: FIO) is a savvy tech pick that could be a very solid play for investors. With technology differentiation in core virtualization software, a significant technology acceptance model, a broad product portfolio and a refreshed sales strategy, Credit Suisse thinks the company’s potential remains significant. They also think it could be a buyout candidate. Credit Suisse has a $15 price target, and the consensus target is $12.24. The stock closed Friday at $10.37.

Ingersoll-Rand PLC (NYSE: IR) is a large-cap pick that could work well for patient investors. Credit Suisse thinks the company is a solid play on the recovery in the U.S. non-commercial residential construction cycle, especially in the HVAC area. The analysts also think that Wall Street worries over market share loss in their core areas are unlikely. Investors are paid a 1.7% dividend. Credit Suisse has a $69 target price, and the consensus is posted lower at $64.11. The stock closed Friday at $56.54.

Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU) is a contrarian transport trade for investors. Despite disappointing its guidance for 2014, there has been no change in the long-term opportunity potential for the railroad. The Credit Suisse team is bullish on the opportunities the company has here and in Mexico. Investors are paid a 1.1% dividend. The Credit Suisse price target is $116, and consensus target is $107.28. The stock closed trading Friday at $99.61.

Veeco Instruments Inc. (NASDAQ: VECO) is a solid tech play for the contrarian investor. The Credit Suisse team thinks that Wall Street analyst underappreciate the recent improvement in LED supply and demand for the company’s large customers, whose utilizations have improved from 60% a year ago to 85% to 90% or higher in many cases today. That means much higher sales. Credit Suisse has a $50 price target, and the consensus is at $40.50. Veeco closed Friday at $41.43.

Going against the grain can be good, especially in a market that feels a little toppy anyway. The stocks chosen by Credit Suisse may be contrarian, but they are hardly totally fallen angels that can never rise to past glory. Some of these picks may be just the ticket for investors who are looking to add some capita, but are not real big on risky bets at this time.