Contrarian Ideas: 10 Stocks Dragged Down by Extreme Pessimism

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(Article by Becca Lipman. List compiled by Eben Esterhuizen, CFA. Insider data sourced form Yahoo! Finance, Institutional data sourced from Fidelity.)

Alec Young, Standard and Poor's global equity strategist, has made no secret of the bearish outlook he's held on stock markets this summer. That's why his recent switch to the bulls has many investors turning their heads.

What happened? Why the change? Apparently, as Young explained toCNBC, he feels the bad news has  already been priced in and price-to-earnings ratios in major markets have become too attractive to ignore, including emerging, Asian, European, and U.S equities.

As Young put it, "you can't be a bear forever."

However his optimism hinges on two scenarios not coming to pass: "A Lehman-type credit event in Europe or a double-dip recession in the U.S. which some market bears are forecasting." Young is hedging his bets on economic growth, believing it the more likely outcome.

Young's bullish caveat, “We are still avoiding the banks, we are acknowledging there could be more headwinds out of Europe, but we are not letting that stop us from recommending that clients use the volatility to buy new positions at this time.”

Do you feel Young has the right idea? Looking for a starting point in your search for targets of bearish sentiment? Let us help you out:

All of the stocks mentioned below have seen a significant increase in shares shorted over the last month. In addition, all of these companies have been dumped by big money managers during the current quarter.

Sophisticated investors, like short sellers and hedge fund managers, think these stocks are in trouble - is this extreme pessimism justified?

Analyze These Ideas (Tools Will Open In A New Window)

1. Access a thorough description of all companies mentioned
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3. Visualize annual returns for all stocks mentioned

List sorted by relative size of short increase.

1. Harbin Electric, Inc. (HRBN): Engages in the design, development, manufacture, supply, and service of electric motors in the People's Republic of China and internationally. Shares shorted have increased from 7.22M to 8.29M over the last month, a change that represents about 6.32% of the company's float of 16.93M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -3.0M shares, which represents about 17.72% of the company's float of 16.93M shares.

2. Bridgepoint Education, Inc. (BPI): Provides postsecondary education services. Shares shorted have increased from 7.51M to 8.61M over the last month, a change that represents about 6.26% of the company's float of 17.56M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -1.8M shares, which represents about 10.25% of the company's float of 17.56M shares.

3. USANA Health Sciences Inc. (USNA): Develops, manufactures, distributes, and sells nutritional and personal care products worldwide. Shares shorted have increased from 1.57M to 1.94M over the last month, a change that represents about 5.37% of the company's float of 6.89M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -334.9K shares, which represents about 4.86% of the company's float of 6.89M shares.

4. STR Holdings, Inc. (STRI): Engages in the manufacture and sale of encapsulants to the solar module industry. Shares shorted have increased from 7.51M to 9.31M over the last month, a change that represents about 5.05% of the company's float of 35.61M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -1.4M shares, which represents about 3.93% of the company's float of 35.61M shares.

5. Lexmark International Inc. (LXK): Develops, manufactures, and supplies printing and imaging solutions for offices. Shares shorted have increased from 4.80M to 8.43M over the last month, a change that represents about 4.63% of the company's float of 78.36M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -8.5M shares, which represents about 10.85% of the company's float of 78.36M shares.

6. Meru Networks, Inc. (MERU): Engages in the development and marketing of a virtualized wireless LAN solution. Shares shorted have increased from 3.14M to 3.41M over the last month, a change that represents about 4.27% of the company's float of 6.32M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -336.6K shares, which represents about 5.33% of the company's float of 6.32M shares.

7. Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP): Provides digital wireless services under the "Cricket" brand name in the United States. Shares shorted have increased from 7.59M to 9.70M over the last month, a change that represents about 4.27% of the company's float of 49.42M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -2.1M shares, which represents about 4.25% of the company's float of 49.42M shares.

8. Omnicare Inc. (OCR): Provides pharmaceuticals, and related pharmacy and ancillary services to long-term healthcare institutions. Shares shorted have increased from 10.36M to 14.55M over the last month, a change that represents about 3.98% of the company's float of 105.21M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -3.8M shares, which represents about 3.61% of the company's float of 105.21M shares.

9. InterDigital, Inc. (IDCC): Engages in the design and development of digital wireless technology solutions. Shares shorted have increased from 5.75M to 7.51M over the last month, a change that represents about 3.92% of the company's float of 44.90M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -2.0M shares, which represents about 4.45% of the company's float of 44.90M shares.

10. Gevo, Inc. (GEVO): Focuses on the development and commercialization of alternatives to petroleum-based products based on isobutanol produced from renewable feedstocks. Shares shorted have increased from 849.15K to 1.13M over the last month, a change that represents about 3.84% of the company's float of 7.32M shares. Net institutional sales in the current quarter at -260.5K shares, which represents about 3.56% of the company's float of 7.32M shares.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Investing Ideas , Stocks


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