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If you’re interested in low-cost stocks, looking at the institutional interest of those names can be a great guide. We searched among stocks trading under $5 for those who have seen the greatest buying interest from institutional investors, measured by shares purchased as a percentage of share float. We then selected 17 of the most bought, which are listed below.

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We also tested the recent performance of an equal-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below. The list has outperformed the S&P 500 for most of the last month, but recently dipped below the benchmark. To access a complete analysis of the list's recent performance, click here.

Do you agree with the institutions on these names? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis into low-cost opportunities. List sorted by net institutional purchases as a percent of share float.

1. Standard Pacific Corp. (NYSE:SPF): Residential Construction Industry. Market cap of $740.21M. Price at $3.74. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 93.5M, which is 88.82% of a 105.27M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.28). The stock is also a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 11.14% (equivalent to 9.26 days of average volume). The stock has lost 37.29% over the last year.

2. Platinum Group Metals Ltd. (NYSEMKT:PLG): Industrial Metals & Minerals Industry. Market cap of $372.71M. Price at $2.09. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 58.3M, which is 38.48% of a 151.50M share float. The stock has lost 20.45% over the last year.

3. Avanir Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AVNR): Drug Manufacturer. Market cap of $506.95M. Price at $4.17. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 37.9M, which is 31.62% of a 119.87M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.45). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 24.77% (equivalent to 7.05 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 8.88% over the last week.

4. Inspire Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISPH): Drug Manufacturer. Market cap of $414.73M. Price at $4.98. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 16.4M, which is 30.03% of a 54.62M share float. The stock has had a good month, gaining 29.02%.

5. YM BioSciences Inc. (YMI): Drug Manufacturer. Market cap of $350.06M. Price at $3.13. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 27.0M, which is 25.02% of a 107.90M share float. The stock is exhibiting strong upside momentum, currently trading 15.65% above its SMA20, 20.68% above its SMA50, and 53.4% above its SMA200. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 10.07% over the last week.

6. Allos Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALTH): Drug Manufacturer. Market cap of $300.90M. Price at $2.88. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 19.1M, which is 24.89% of a 76.73M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7.44% (equivalent to 7.04 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.25% over the last week.

7. X-Rite, Incorporated (NASDAQ:XRIT): Photographic Equipment & Supplies Industry. Market cap of $420.20M. Price at $4.82. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 13.0M, which is 21.82% of a 59.59M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.39% over the last week.

8. Dynavax Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:DVAX): Drug Manufacturer. Market cap of $309.75M. Price at $2.71. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 21.7M, which is 20.46% of a 106.06M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.76). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.58% (equivalent to 13.17 days of average volume). The stock has gained 75.66% over the last year.

9. Augusta Resource Corp. (NYSEMKT:AZC): Industrial Metals & Minerals Industry. Market cap of $659.97M. Price at $4.61. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 16.0M, which is 18.15% of a 88.16M share float. After a solid performance over the last year, AZC has pulled back during recent sessions. The stock is 7.13% below its SMA20 and 11.08% below its SMA50, but remains 21.22% above its SMA200. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 12.1%.

10. Powerwave Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:PWAV): Communication Equipment Industry. Market cap of $758.18M. Price at $4.46. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 25.5M, which is 17.87% of a 142.68M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.88). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 9.78% over the last week.

11. Satcon Technology Corporation (SATC): Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $385.27M. Price at $3.15. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 13.1M, which is 14.36% of a 91.21M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 17.98% (equivalent to 5.93 days of average volume). The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 7.4% below its SMA20, 12.32% below its SMA50, and 17.97% below its SMA200. The stock has gained 22.26% over the last year.

12. AirMedia Group Inc. (NASDAQ:AMCN): Marketing Services Industry. Market cap of $303.07M. Price at $4.59. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 4.3M, which is 13.84% of a 31.08M share float. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 11.07% below its SMA20, 17.55% below its SMA50, and 19.04% below its SMA200. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.48% over the last week.

13. DryShips, Inc. (NASDAQ:DRYS): Shipping Industry. Market cap of $1.80B. Price at $4.75. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 49.9M, which is 13.36% of a 373.44M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 3.37). The stock has lost 18.99% over the last year.

14. Quantum Corporation (NYSE:QTM): Data Storage Devices Industry. Market cap of $710.01M. Price at $3.10. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 29.1M, which is 13.13% of a 221.58M share float. The stock is exhibiting strong upside momentum, currently trading 9.65% above its SMA20, 16.37% above its SMA50, and 15.34% above its SMA200. The stock has had a good month, gaining 27.53%.

15. Ener1, Inc. (NASDAQ:HEV): Industrial Electrical Equipment Industry. Market cap of $422.07M. Price at $2.53. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 5.0M, which is 11.97% of a 41.78M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 11.91% (equivalent to 7.06 days of average volume). The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 9.69% below its SMA20, 19% below its SMA50, and 29.38% below its SMA200. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 13.8%.

16. Citigroup, Inc. (NYSE:C): Money Center Banks Industry. Market cap of $131.32B. Price at $4.50. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 3.3B, which is 11.39% of a 28.98B share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.54). The stock has gained 3.92% over the last year.

17. Great Basin Gold Ltd. (NYSEMKT:GBG): Gold Industry. Market cap of $1.13B. Price at $2.57. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 49.9M, which is 11.07% of a 450.91M share float. The stock has gained 43.68% over the last year.

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.

Source: 17 Stocks Under $5 Being Chased by Big Money Managers