Crowd sourcing earnings

oil pipeline

Earnings are the growth engine that power stocks.

That's why investors pay extremely close attention to consensus earnings estimates by Wall Street analysts.

However, these "sell-side" analysts have a long history of being very conservative. They often mirror the guidance offered by companies, which have an incentive to give low-ball estimates that can cause the stock to pop once they're beat.

But an upstart called Estimize is starting to change that game. Estimize crowd sources professional analysts as well as students, academics and other non-professionals in an attempt to come up with a better feel for what companies will actually report. Estimize says it is more accurate than Wall Street 74% of the time.

The following is a ranking of stocks based on this crowd vs. Street divide. This list includes the top 20 stocks that Estimize users predict will exceed the profits traditional analysts are calling for.

"These are the ones that the Estimize community is expecting beats on," said Christine Short, senior vice president of Estimize.

Data for the slides that follow have been compiled from Estimize and FactSet.

First published March 31, 2016: 12:33 PM ET