As investors, we're always trying to be contrarian. We hope to boost our returns by finding stocks or sectors that have been overlooked, unloved, or senselessly mispriced by the market.

In bear markets like this one, however, even great companies can get caught up in a market's downward spiral. Companies like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) have been punished, despite reporting double-digit profit growth in their latest quarters. There just isn't much mercy to go around right now.   

But here's where a little data can help our contrarian cause. Using my trusty CAPS screener, I set out to find companies that are performing surprisingly well in this bleak market environment. To do so, I screened for stocks with negative betas -- or stocks that move inversely to the direction of the overall market. These stocks also have:  

  • Market caps of at least $200 million.
  • Four or five-star ratings from our CAPS community.

Here's what I found:

Company

CAPS Rating

Recent Price

Beta

Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX)

****

$33.01

-0.40

Genentech (NYSE:DNA)

****

$98.63

-0.81

Precision Drilling Trust (NYSE:PDS)

*****

$19.48

-0.16

Somanetics (NASDAQ:SMTS)

*****

$25.03

-1.11

Varian Medical Systems (NYSE:VAR)

****

$63.96

-0.09

There are plenty of reasons to believe these stocks will continue to perform well, even in this ugly market. Since we launched CAPS in 2006, five-star companies have beaten the market with an average annual gain of 12%, while four-star companies returned 7% on average. For comparison, the S&P 500 index was essentially flat over the same period.

Looking for more contrarian winners? Come hang out with us on Motley Fool CAPS, and let our 115,000-strong (and counting) CAPS community help you find winning stocks.

Further forward-facing Foolishness:

Matthew Argersinger doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Somanetics is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems Pay Dirt recommendation. Precision Drilling is a Motley Fool Global Gains selection. Microsoft is an Inside Value pick. Netflix is a Stock Advisor recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Fool has an iconoclastic disclosure policy.