The Contrarian’s Delight: 3 Stocks Defying Analyst Expectations for Massive Gains


  • These companies are defying their critics and posting strong shareholder returns. 
  • Palantir Technologies (PLTR): Analysts rate the stock a “hold.” It’s share price is up 40% this year. 
  • NextEra Energy (NEE): The electric utility’s shares are rising despite negative analyst views. 
  • The New York Times Co. (NYT): The newspaper publisher continues to add digital subscribers at a brisk clip. 
stocks to buy - The Contrarian’s Delight: 3 Stocks Defying Analyst Expectations for Massive Gains

Source: Vova Shevchuk /

If nothing else, analyst ratings and price targets can provide an indication of sentiment towards a stock. However, just because analysts are bullish or bearish on a particular security doesn’t mean that it is going to rise or fall. On the contrary, some of the best stocks to buy often run counter to the consensus views of Wall Street analysts, much to their frustration.

For years, analysts were bearish on electric car maker Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and the stock was the most heavily shorted on Wall Street. Critics were concerned about the valuation of TSLA stock and the high multiple at which it traded. However, Tesla’s stock kept on rising no matter how many bears circled the company. Tesla’s share price is down today, but that’s mostly due to declining sales rather than worries about valuation.

Here are other contrarian delights: three stocks defying analyst expectations for massive gains.

Palantir Technologies (PLTR)

Palantir Logo. Palantir Technologies (PLTR) is a publicly traded American company that focuses on the specialized field of big data analytics.
Source: Iljanaresvara Studio /

There is currently a consensus “hold” rating on Palantir Technologies (NYSE:PLTR) stock. A dozen Wall Street analysts have a median price target on PLTR stock that is 5% lower than where the shares are currently trading. Among the 12 analysts, only two rate the stock a “buy.” Valuation seems to be the main concern with Palantir stock trading at 196 times future earnings estimates.

Yet the negative sentiment among analysts hasn’t held PLTR stock back. So far in 2024, the company’s share price has risen 40%. The stock is up 154% since its initial public offering in late 2020. Palantir’s stock has gotten a boost from a string of strong financial reports. The company has posted a profit for six consecutive quarters, making it eligible for inclusion in the benchmark S&P 500 index.

NextEra Energy (NEE)

Nextra Energy (NEE) website on a mobile phone screen
Source: madamF /

Another stock that has a “hold” rating is NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE). Among eight Wall Street analysts that offer price targets on the shares, only two rate the stock a “buy.” NextEra is the world’s largest electric utility by market capitalization, with a valuation of $150 billion. The downbeat rating on NEE stock is a bit surprising given its run this year and the generally bullish sentiment among investors toward utility stocks right now.

Since January, NEE stock has gained 20%, closing in on a 52-week high. The stock also doesn’t look overvalued trading at 19 times future earnings estimates. And it offers a chunky dividend of 51 cents per share each quarter, giving it a yield of 2.8%. In this case, analysts expressed concerns about surplus energy products and waning long-term demand, which could pull down NextEra stock. That hasn’t happened yet.

The New York Times Co. (NYT)

The headquarters of the New York Times (NYT) at night.
Source: Osugi /

The paper of record currently rates a “moderate buy” among analysts with a median price target right around where the stock of The New York Times Co. (NYSE:NYT) is currently trading. Much hand-wringing is going on over the future impact that artificial intelligence will have on The New York Times and other newspapers. Some analysts have said that the media industry as we know it is toast with the advent of AI.

The New York Times is happily defying analyst expectations. In the past 12 months, NYT stock has risen 33% and is also hovering near a 52-week high. The company continues posting decent earnings, and its digital subscriptions are steadily growing. At last tally, the media company had 10.55 million subscribers across its print and digital products, of which 9.91 million were digital-only subscribers. The company continues adding popular content, such as more sports coverage, games and recipes to its offerings.

The New York Times is one of the few media companies that is profitable from its digital subscriptions alone.

On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.

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