Citi: Here are four contrarian plays on the stock market

Strategists at Citi have pointed to four U.S. stock strategies that break with a crowded consensus.

"There are four points that still seem very much consensus-like yet do not have the kind of solid backup data," Citi said in a note dated late Wednesday U.S. time. "There's opportunity in going against the grain.

1. Equity market valuations aren't actually terribly expensive, Citi said.

Analysts have been citing the Shiller cyclically-adjusted price-to-earnings ratio (CAPE) as indicating stocks are expensive, Citi noted, but it added that while the level was fairly high compared with its history, that may not mean much.

"It is cited regularly by bears, with barely any evidence that it is worth tracking," Citi said. "The CAPE has extremely low predictive correlation when looking out a year."

2. Companies haven't really been delaying capital spending, Citi said, calling it a "constant stream of misinformation."

In fact, the real issue was a plunge in energy industry capital expenditure, it said.

"While the popular narrative of weak business investment has been ongoing for two years at a minimum, the hard numbers indicate that such thinking is simply wrong," it said. "The oil patch's pricing issues hammered this one area and it is recovering now. IT budgets, for example, never faltered even as too many investors focused on buybacks which were fairly concentrated."

Citi noted that more corporate investment could be on the cards as well, noting a policy proposal to allow first-year 100 percent depreciation write-offs, which could spur spending in 2017 and 2018.

3. Citi isn't buying into the consensus view that U.S. small caps were likely to outperform large caps.

"The likelihood of even higher bond yields is growing as growth and nascent inflation combine with fiscal stimulus that probably won't be as revenue neutral as might be suggested. Add in a border tax possibility and everyone flocks to small caps," Citi said.

But the bank still expected large caps will outperform.

"Higher yields usually mean large caps do better," it said. "A powerful dollar surge would drive small caps but the greenback already has moved sharply in the past few months and future gains might be much harder to come by."

In the wake of Donald Trump's surprise U.S. election win, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, surged to a 14-year high. Larger companies tend to have more overseas earnings, which would be hurt when they are translated back into the greenback.

Trump has since floated the idea of a "border tax" to discourage imports into the U.S. Since larger companies tend to be more likely to import components, equipment or products, tariffs would hurt them more than smaller companies.

Oddly, Citi noted that clients who were pushing back against its call for large caps to outperform, were also pushing back on the bank's call to be overweight financial stocks, which would seem to argue against the smaller-cap index due to its heavier exposure to banks.

4. Citi has gone overweight on media stocks, saying it might be the bank's "most out of consensus view."

"Liking Media stocks generates 'raspberries' as the Street remains deeply concerned about cord-cutting and pricing issues," it said. "However, valuation and earnings revision momentum support the industry group's relative outperformance potential as might M&A activity."

Citi also noted that new technology, such as virtual and augmented reality, could also drive the sector.

—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.

photo Citi: Here are four contrarian plays on the stock market  images

photo of Citi: Here are four contrarian plays on the stock market

Relax Citi: Here are four contrarian plays on the stock market stories

Walmart to lift ban on Visa after settling of fee dispute

A six-month spat between the world's largest retailer and the world's biggest credit card company is over, as Walmart has struck a deal with Visa that will see the latter's cards accepted at all of the chain's Canadian stores.

More stories