Contrarians' Day: Profiting From Independent Thought - TheStreet

If any country should celebrate a contrarian streak, it's America.

As we observe Independence Day -- is anybody actually reading today? -- this holiday week's Financial Education column will highlight our running series on contrarian investing, the ultimate expression of market independence.

Contrarian investing -- buying the stuff that everybody hates, or betting against the stuff that everybody loves -- is one of the best ways to aim for performance-enhancing returns. There are a million ways to go against the herd, and today's package of stories highlights some of the best bets these days:

Short Selling:

Do

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

,

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

and

Yahoo!

(YHOO)

look frothy to you? If you know the risks, short-selling can be a profitable venture. This

recent column offers a primer on how to sell a stock short. (Back in the old days in France, Napoleon banned short-selling as treasonous behavior -- that would never happen in America!)

Dogs of the Dow:

Investors looking for a contrarian investment strategy tailor-made to benefit from the recent dividend tax cut, the Dow 10, or Dogs of the Dow, is a good place to start. Check out

this recent column for details on how an oldie-but-goodie strategy makes darlings out of dogs like

Altria

(MO) - Get Report

.

Japan:

You heard me. A growing number of savvy investors are suggesting it's finally time to take a look at the country that has been in a 13-year death spiral. This

recent column offers a few mutual funds that are worthy candidates for the investor willing to take the plunge.

Gold:

The precious metal has been on a bear-market tear during the past three years -- after a two-decade funk -- and some investors think it may still have more upside. Investors interested in the metal's prospects should check out this

recent column.

True Contrarians:

Lots of investors lay claim to being contrarians these days. To get a sense of what contrarian investing truly means these days, we got the straight story from three genuine articles: Marc Faber, Tom McManus and David Dreman. While they contradicted each other a bit -- natch -- there were some common themes.

Click here to see what these contrarians like and dislike.