Jerry Seinfeld (to George Costanza): “If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.” That’s a quote from a famous episode in the Seinfeld TV series where George, the character we all loved to hate, discovers success comes when he does the opposite of what his natural instincts tell him to do.

What’s this got to do with equities, you might ask.

With the stock market nearing all-time highs again, and investors gaga over the growing probability that the Federal Reserve will cut rates soon, the lesson of not heeding the Wall Street herd remains valuable, especially when it comes to individual equities. Maybe we all need to reaffirm it every year—or every day. I’m a firm believer in “What everyone knows isn’t worth knowing.”

Unfortunately, that’s ignored by many investors swept up in the momentum. It takes chutzpah to stand out, but hugging the indexes or hanging with the Wall Street crowd doesn’t produce outperformance. We know that, and yet….

This comes to mind because FactSet recently put out a report that shows the sectors and stocks where Wall Street analysts are most optimistic and pessimistic. Of the 10,456 ratings on stocks in the S&P 500, 53% are Buy ratings, 41% are Hold ratings, and 6% Sell. Given ho...

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