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The following is a list of high yield dividend stocks that have seen a significant decrease in shares shorted between 10/15/2010 - 01/14/2011.

Given that short sellers seem to think at least some of the bad news is already priced into these stocks, this list might offer a very interesting starting point to a dividend investor looking for bargains. Full details below.

Short trends data sourced from AOL Money, dividend yield and short float data sourced from Finviz.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research. Note: The numbers on top of items represent the forward P/E ratio, if available.

The list has been sorted by the change in shares shorted over the last three months. A reminder: All short trends described occur between 10/15/2010 - 01/14/2011.

1. Strayer Education Inc. (NASDAQ:STRA): Education & Training Services Industry. Market cap of $1.61B. Dividend yield at 3.37%. Shorted shares decreased from 3.93M to 2.58M over the last three months (-34% change). Short float at 19.13%, which implies a short ratio of 10.08 days. The stock has lost -41.47% over the last year.

2. Buckle Inc. (NYSE:BKE): Apparel Stores Industry. Market cap of $1.71B. Dividend yield at 2.18%. Shorted shares decreased from 7.59M to 5.18M over the last three months (-32% change). Short float at 19.48%, which implies a short ratio of 10.98 days. The stock has gained 31.81% over the last year.

3. Universal Corp. (NYSE:UVV): Tobacco Products Industry. Market cap of $897.83M. Dividend yield at 5.09%. Shorted shares decreased from 3.82M to 2.73M over the last three months (-29% change). Short float at 11.62%, which implies a short ratio of 9.75 days. The stock has lost -16.17% over the last year.

4. Polaris Industries, Inc. (NYSE:PII): Recreational Vehicles Industry. Market cap of $2.64B. Dividend yield at 2.31%. Shorted shares decreased from 4.27M to 3.23M over the last three months (-24% change). Short float at 10.2%, which implies a short ratio of 8.38 days. The stock has gained 82.71% over the last year.

5. Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS): Specialty Retail Industry. Market cap of $991.39M. Dividend yield at 6.08%. Shorted shares decreased from 10.68M to 8.11M over the last three months (-24% change). Short float at 26.47%, which implies a short ratio of 14.1 days. The stock has lost -12.12% over the last year.

6. City Holding Co. (NASDAQ:CHCO): Regional Banks Industry. Market cap of $550.71M. Dividend yield at 3.83%. Shorted shares decreased from 2.18M to 1.67M over the last three months (-23% change). Short float at 11.18%, which implies a short ratio of 26.66 days. The stock has gained 19.35% over the last year.

7. Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE:PEI): Retail REIT. Market cap of $778.09M. Dividend yield at 4.27%. Shorted shares decreased from 8.66M to 6.68M over the last three months (-23% change). Short float at 12.85%, which implies a short ratio of 11.83 days. The stock has gained 63.37% over the last year.

8. J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (NYSE:JCP): Department Stores Industry. Market cap of $7.47B. Dividend yield at 2.53%. Shorted shares decreased from 28.08M to 22.19M over the last three months (-21% change). Short float at 11.22%, which implies a short ratio of 5.73 days. The stock has gained 32.95% over the last year.

9. United Bankshares Inc. (NASDAQ:UBSI): Regional Banks Industry. Market cap of $1.23B. Dividend yield at 4.24%. Shorted shares decreased from 7.22M to 5.89M over the last three months (-18% change). Short float at 14.34%, which implies a short ratio of 31.1 days. The stock has gained 25.23% over the last year.

10. CBL & Associates Properties Inc. (NYSE:CBL): Retail REIT. Market cap of $2.36B. Dividend yield at 4.68%. Shorted shares decreased from 20.62M to 17.79M over the last three months (-14% change). Short float at 13.44%, which implies a short ratio of 11.39 days. The stock has gained 78.1% over the last year.

Source: 10 High Yield Dividend Stocks With Decreasing Short Interest