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Some investors view the put/call ratio as a contrarian indicator – when it reaches extreme levels, a turnaround may be imminent. Here we offer a list built around that idea, with 21 companies that are trading near their 52-week lows. These stocks have also seen steep increases in their put/call ratios over the past 10 trading days, to the highest levels of their annual put/call ranges.

Do you think these stocks are about to rally, based on their recent pessimism? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis. List sorted by increase in put/call ratio.

1. Overseas Shipholding Group Inc. (OSG): Shipping Industry. Market cap of $888.51M. The stock is currently 9.05% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 245.83% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.48 to 1.66, currently placed at 95% of the annual p/c range). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 20.99% (equivalent to 8.46 days of average volume). The stock has lost 19.51% over the last year.

2. HNI Corp. (NYSE:HNI): Business Equipment Industry. Market cap of $1.09B. The stock is currently 5.54% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 177.03% over the last 10 trading days (from 1.48 to 4.1, currently placed at 99% of the annual p/c range). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.86% (equivalent to 12.52 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 20.16%.

3. Valassis Communications Inc. (NYSE:VCI): Marketing Services Industry. Market cap of $1.43B. The stock is currently 9.34% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 143.75% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.8 to 1.95, currently placed at 97% of the annual p/c range). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 3.23). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 15.16% (equivalent to 8.67 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 11.47%.

4. E-House (China) Holdings Limited (NYSE:EJ): Property Management Industry. Market cap of $851.59M. The stock is currently 2.72% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 137.78% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.45 to 1.07, currently placed at 100% of the annual p/c range). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.02). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 14.19%.

5. Universal American Corp (NYSE:UAM): Health Care Plans Industry. Market cap of $725.97M. The stock is currently 2.08% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 113.50% over the last 10 trading days (from 8.15 to 17.4, currently placed at 97% of the annual p/c range). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 57.7%.

6. Capella Education Co. (NASDAQ:CPLA): Education & Training Services Industry. Market cap of $758.97M. The stock is currently 1.37% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 108.73% over the last 10 trading days (from 1.26 to 2.63, currently placed at 94% of the annual p/c range). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 15.92% (equivalent to 11.23 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 6.84% over the last week.

7. Ternium S.A. (NYSE:TX): Steel & Iron Industry. Market cap of $6.24B. The stock is currently 7.41% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 100.00% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.69 to 1.38, currently placed at 100% of the annual p/c range). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.21). The stock has lost 3.68% over the last year.

8. Exterran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:EXH): Oil & Gas Equipment & Services Industry. Market cap of $1.30B. The stock is currently 1.12% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 65.38% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.52 to 0.86, currently placed at 88% of the annual p/c range). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 10.66% (equivalent to 8.64 days of average volume). The stock has lost 17.92% over the last year.

9. Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ:RMBS): Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $1.53B. The stock is currently 7.03% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 63.46% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.52 to 0.85, currently placed at 96% of the annual p/c range). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 10.42% over the last week.

10. China Real Estate Information Corporation (NASDAQ:CRIC): Property Management Industry. Market cap of $1.03B. The stock is currently 5.51% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 50.58% over the last 10 trading days (from 3.44 to 5.18, currently placed at 100% of the annual p/c range). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 11.41% (equivalent to 11.76 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 10.27% over the last week.

11. CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. (NYSE:CX): Cement Industry. Market cap of $7.95B. The stock is currently 9.65% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 42.86% over the last 10 trading days (from 1.89 to 2.7, currently placed at 99% of the annual p/c range). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.03). The stock has lost 18.52% over the last year.

12. Nordic American Tanker Shipping Ltd. (NYSE:NAT): Shipping Industry. Market cap of $1.13B. The stock is currently 7.91% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 40.51% over the last 10 trading days (from 1.58 to 2.22, currently placed at 98% of the annual p/c range). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7.38% (equivalent to 7.45 days of average volume). The stock has lost 9.82% over the last year.

13. The Jones Group Inc. (NYSE:JNY): Apparel Stores Industry. Market cap of $1.10B. The stock is currently 5.14% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 26.97% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.89 to 1.13, currently placed at 94% of the annual p/c range). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 3.02). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 12.66%.

14. Healthcare Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE:HR): REIT Industry. Market cap of $1.56B. The stock is currently 9.32% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 26.92% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.52 to 0.66, currently placed at 88% of the annual p/c range). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.84% (equivalent to 6.15 days of average volume). The stock has gained 2.74% over the last year.

15. Eldorado Gold Corp. (NYSE:EGO): Gold Industry. Market cap of $8.60B. The stock is currently 6.92% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 26.53% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.49 to 0.62, currently placed at 87% of the annual p/c range). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 13.08%.

16. Skechers USA Inc. (NYSE:SKX): Textile Industry. Market cap of $902.69M. The stock is currently 1.68% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 25.32% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.79 to 0.99, currently placed at 100% of the annual p/c range). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 14.72% (equivalent to 6.04 days of average volume). The stock has lost 49.41% over the last year.

17. FirstMerit Corporation (NASDAQ:FMER): Regional Banks Industry. Market cap of $1.83B. The stock is currently 3.37% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 23.24% over the last 10 trading days (from 13.38 to 16.49, currently placed at 94% of the annual p/c range). The stock has lost 4.61% over the last year.

18. AllianceBernstein Holding L.P. (NYSE:AB): Asset Management Industry. Market cap of $2.26B. The stock is currently 7.66% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 18.89% over the last 10 trading days (from 0.9 to 1.07, currently placed at 99% of the annual p/c range). The stock has lost 19.54% over the last year.

19. Northern Trust Corporation (NASDAQ:NTRS): Regional Banks Industry. Market cap of $11.83B. The stock is currently 8.93% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 15.45% over the last 10 trading days (from 1.1 to 1.27, currently placed at 100% of the annual p/c range). The stock has lost 3.53% over the last year.

20. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE): Semiconductor Industry. Market cap of $1.41B. The stock is currently 6.98% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 13.01% over the last 10 trading days (from 1.23 to 1.39, currently placed at 94% of the annual p/c range). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 3.04). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 15.1% over the last week.

21. Genworth Financial Inc. (NYSE:GNW): Life Insurance Industry. Market cap of $5.46B. The stock is currently 7.02% above its 52-week low. Put/Call ratio has increased 6.67% over the last 10 trading days (from 1.35 to 1.44, currently placed at 84% of the annual p/c range). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 3.13). The stock has lost 23.36% over the last year.

Options data sourced from Schaeffer’s, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 21 Stocks Near Lows With Extremely Bearish Options Sentiment