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Do you like to follow the buying trends of smart money institutional investors? We ran a screen with that idea in mind.

We began by screening for stocks trading under $5 a share with bearish sentiment, with float shorts above 10%.

We then screened for those with bullish sentiment from institutional investors, with significant net institutional purchases over the last quarter representing at least 5% of share float. This indicates that institutional investors such as hedge fund managers and mutual fund managers expect these names to outperform into the future.

For an interactive version of this chart, click on the image below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

Tool provided by Kapitall. More investing ideas on Kapitall Wire.

Do you think hedge funds are calling it right on these names? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

1. Exelixis, Inc. (NASDAQ:EXEL): Engages in the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer, metabolic, and cardiovascular disorders. Market cap at $892.3M, most recent closing price at $4.82.

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 46.8M shares, which represents about 27.7% of the company's float of 168.97M shares. Float Short at 25.37%. The top 2 holders of the stock are FMR, LLC, and Wellington Capital Management.

2. GT Advanced Technologies Inc. (GTAT): Provides polysilicon production technology and multicrystalline ingot growth systems, and related photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing services for the solar industry worldwide. Market cap at $405.82M, most recent closing price at $3.33.

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 18.1M shares, which represents about 15.36% of the company's float of 117.86M shares. Float short at 32%. The top 2 holders of the stock are Wellington Capital Management, and UBG AG.

3. Idenix Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:IDIX): Engages in the discovery and development of drugs for the treatment of human viral and other infectious diseases in the United States and Europe. Market cap at $611.83M, most recent closing price at $4.6.

Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 13.8M shares, which represents about 19.42% of the company's float of 71.05M shares. Float short at 14.1%. The top 2 holders of the stock are Brookside Capital Management, and The Baupost Group.

*Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Business relationship disclosure: Business relationship disclosure: Kapitall is a team of analysts. This article was written by Sabina Bhatia, one of our writers. We did not receive compensation for this article (other than from Seeking Alpha), and we have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Source: 3 Highly Shorted Stocks Under $5 Being Snapped Up By Hedge Funds