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If you believe that analyst ratings tend to lag stock performance, then you'd probably see the following list as a potential screen for short ideas. To create this list, we started with the following screen:

  • All stocks with a market cap above $300M
  • All stocks are in an uptrend, trading more than 10% above their 20-day, 50-day and 200-day moving averages
  • All of these stocks have had positive ROE and ROA over the last 12 months.

That screen resulted in a universe of about 110 stocks. We then narrowed down this universe to the 20 stocks that have seen the largest improvements in analyst ratings over the last 3 months.

Analyst ratings are presented on a linear scale, where ratings close to 1 indicate "Strong Buy" while ratings close to 5 indicate "Strong Sell". All of the stocks in this list have seen their ratings move closer towards 1 over the last 3 months, i.e. improving analyst sentiment.

Short float data sourced from Finviz, analyst ratings sourced from Reuters.

1. Balchem Corp. (NASDAQ:BCPC): Market cap of $794M. Current analyst rating at 2.0 vs. a rating of 3.0 three months ago. Short float at 4.9%, which implies a short ratio of 12.86 days. The stock has gained 52.78% over the last year.

2. PolyOne Corporation (NYSE:POL): Market cap of $1,043B. Current analyst rating at 1.62 vs. a rating of 2.43 three months ago. Short float at 3.76%, which implies a short ratio of 3.88 days. The stock has gained 69.85% over the last year.

3. Cognex Corp. (NASDAQ:CGNX): Market cap of $885M. Current analyst rating at 1.8 vs. a rating of 2.6 three months ago. Short float at 3.92%, which implies a short ratio of 6.09 days. The stock has gained 31.16% over the last year.

4. GOL Linhas A (NYSE:GOL): Market cap of $4,020B. Current analyst rating at 1.7 vs. a rating of 2.44 three months ago. Short float at 6.22%, which implies a short ratio of 5.87 days. The stock has gained 50.81% over the last year.

5. 51job Inc. (NASDAQ:JOBS): Market cap of $995M. Current analyst rating at 1.75 vs. a rating of 2.5 three months ago. Short float at 1.15%, which implies a short ratio of 2.76 days. The stock has gained 155.93% over the last year.

6. Knoll Inc. (NYSE:KNL): Market cap of $706M. Current analyst rating at 1.5 vs. a rating of 2 three months ago. Short float at 5.65%, which implies a short ratio of 10.61 days. The stock has gained 45.4% over the last year.

7. Eastman Chemical Co. (NYSE:EMN): Market cap of $5,062B. Current analyst rating at 1.56 vs. a rating of 1.9 three months ago. Short float at 7.26%, which implies a short ratio of 4.18 days. The stock has gained 30.8% over the last year.

8. Westlake Chemical Corp. (NYSE:WLK): Market cap of $1,949B. Current analyst rating at 2.67 vs. a rating of 3.14 three months ago. Short float at 8.66%, which implies a short ratio of 7.6 days. The stock has gained 7.87% over the last year.

9. ViroPharma Inc. (VPHM): Market cap of $1,074B. Current analyst rating at 1.4 vs. a rating of 1.62 three months ago. Short float at 8.86%, which implies a short ratio of 8.97 days. The stock has gained 61.48% over the last year.

10. Sina Corp. (NASDAQ:SINA): Market cap of $2,936B. Current analyst rating at 1.73 vs. a rating of 2 three months ago. Short float at 8.53%, which implies a short ratio of 4.74 days. The stock has gained 34.94% over the last year.

11. ZOLL Medical Corp. (NASDAQ:ZOLL): Market cap of $656M. Current analyst rating at 1.57 vs. a rating of 1.8 three months ago. Short float at 6.62%, which implies a short ratio of 7.12 days. The stock has gained 39.27% over the last year.

12. Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CTXS): Market cap of $12,751B. Current analyst rating at 2.43 vs. a rating of 2.77 three months ago. Short float at 3.71%, which implies a short ratio of 2.01 days. The stock has gained 79.5% over the last year.

13. Oclaro, Inc. (NASDAQ:OCLR): Market cap of $710M. Current analyst rating at 1.62 vs. a rating of 1.83 three months ago. Short float at 7.35%, which implies a short ratio of 4.79 days. The stock has gained 165.56% over the last year.

14. Buckeye Technologies Inc. (NYSE:BKI): Market cap of $534M. Current analyst rating at 1.33 vs. a rating of 1.5 three months ago. Short float at 4.05%, which implies a short ratio of 5.68 days. The stock has gained 21.16% over the last year.

15. G-III Apparel Group, Ltd. (NASDAQ:GIII): Market cap of $602M. Current analyst rating at 1.43 vs. a rating of 1.6 three months ago. Short float at 10.11%, which implies a short ratio of 7.31 days. The stock has gained 126.88% over the last year.

16. Entropic Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENTR): Market cap of $676M. Current analyst rating at 1.5 vs. a rating of 1.67 three months ago. Short float at 10.05%, which implies a short ratio of 3.88 days. The stock has gained 223.61% over the last year.

17. Xerox Corp. (NYSE:XRX): Market cap of $13,969B. Current analyst rating at 2.0 vs. a rating of 2.22 three months ago. Short float at 1.12%, which implies a short ratio of 0.99 days. The stock has gained 8.25% over the last year.

18. Zumiez, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZUMZ): Market cap of $612M. Current analyst rating at 2.06 vs. a rating of 2.27 three months ago. Short float at 14.37%, which implies a short ratio of 10.54 days. The stock has gained 30.53% over the last year.

19. LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. (NYSE:LF): Market cap of $334M. Current analyst rating at 2 vs. a rating of 2.2 three months ago. Short float at 4.73%, which implies a short ratio of 7.67 days. The stock has gained 13.85% over the last year.

20. Rockwood Holdings Inc. (NYSE:ROC): Market cap of $2,318B. Current analyst rating at 1.83 vs. a rating of 2.0 three months ago. Short float at 3.07%, which implies a short ratio of 3.67 days. The stock has gained 38.47% over the last year.

Disclosure: No positions

Source: Short Ideas: 20 Rallies That Analysts Think Will Continue