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Company debt is an important consideration when choosing a stock because debt is a wedge between firm value and the firm’s value to shareholders. When company debt reaches high levels, it diverts money away from shareholders (away from dividends) and towards higher interest payments. High debt also reduces the firm’s financial flexibility.

We ran a screen on low-debt companies, with most recent quarter total debt to assets below 0.20. We screened this universe for companies also seeing high cash-flow growth, comparing trailing-twelve-month operating cash flow/common equity to the company’s five-year average. We also screened for companies seeing bullish changes (i.e. decreases) in their put/call ratio over the last ten trading days.

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.



We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below, and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.



List sorted by decrease in put/call ratio over the last two weeks.

1. Provident Financial Services, Inc. (PFS): Savings & Loans Industry. Market cap of $880.90M. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.11 vs. 5-year average at 0.07. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.00. Put/call ratio has decreased 100.0% over the last ten trading days (from 0.24 to 0.00). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 6.06% (equivalent to 12.08 days of average volume). The stock has gained 17.5% over the last year.

2. Movado Group, Inc. (MOV): Recreational Goods, Other Industry. Market cap of $429.08M. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.14 vs. 5-year average at 0.11. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.00. Put/call ratio has decreased 93.30% over the last ten trading days (from 10.00 to 0.67). The stock has gained 48.54% over the last year.

3. Hypercom Corp. (HYC): Business Equipment Industry. Market cap of $580.53M. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.17 vs. 5-year average at 0.12. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.20. Put/call ratio has decreased 87.59% over the last ten trading days (from 4.19 to 0.52). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.03). The stock has gained 102.84% over the last year.

4. Guangshen Railway Co. Ltd. (GSH): Railroads Industry. Market cap of $2.90B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.14 vs. 5-year average at 0.10. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.11. Put/call ratio has decreased 85.77% over the last ten trading days (from 2.46 to 0.35). Offers a good dividend, and appears to have good liquidity to back it up--dividend yield at 3.38%, current ratio at 1.6, and quick ratio at 1.5. The stock has gained 20.73% over the last year.

5. Buckeye Technologies Inc. (BKI): Paper & Paper Products Industry. Market cap of $1.15B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.39 vs. 5-year average at 0.29. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.16. Put/call ratio has decreased 82.21% over the last ten trading days (from 1.63 to 0.29). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.58). The stock has had a good month, gaining 14.85%.

6. AbitibiBowater Inc. Common Stoc (ABH):
Paper & Paper Products Industry. Market cap of $1.89B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.12 vs. 5-year average at -0.15. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.14. Put/call ratio has decreased 79.23% over the last ten trading days (from 1.83 to 0.38). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.55% (equivalent to 11.2 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 12.13%.

7. Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. (NUS): Personal Products Industry. Market cap of $2.48B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.44 vs. 5-year average at 0.32. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.18. Put/call ratio has decreased 76.05% over the last ten trading days (from 1.67 to 0.40). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 11.45% (equivalent to 8.04 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 10.29%.

8. Ferro Corp. (FOE): Specialty Chemicals Industry. Market cap of $1.22B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.29 vs. 5-year average at 0.17. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.19. Put/call ratio has decreased 47.14% over the last ten trading days (from 0.70 to 0.37). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 3.3). The stock has gained 55.14% over the last year.

9. Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (PIR): Home Furnishing Stores Industry. Market cap of $1.40B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.40 vs. 5-year average at 0.00. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.01. Put/call ratio has decreased 46.39% over the last ten trading days (from 0.97 to 0.52). The stock has gained 64.2% over the last year.

10. Regions Financial Corp. (RF): Regional Banks Industry. Market cap of $7.79B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.28 vs. 5-year average at 0.18. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.12. Put/call ratio has decreased 41.53% over the last ten trading days (from 1.18 to 0.69). The stock has lost 6.2% over the last year.

11. CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF): Agricultural Chemicals Industry. Market cap of $11.45B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.60 vs. 5-year average at 0.46. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.18. Put/call ratio has decreased 36.05% over the last ten trading days (from 0.86 to 0.55). Exhibiting strong upside momentum--currently trading 8.57% above its SMA20, 10.03% above its SMA50, and 20.06% above its SMA200. The stock has had a good month, gaining 12.26%.

12. Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. (RGR):
Sporting Goods Industry. Market cap of $448.35M. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.39 vs. 5-year average at 0.32. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.00. Put/call ratio has decreased 33.33% over the last ten trading days (from 0.90 to 0.60). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 12.15% (equivalent to 17.9 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 22.16%.

13. Coeur d`Alene Mines Corporation (CDE): Silver Industry. Market cap of $2.56B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.10 vs. 5-year average at 0.05. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.07. Put/call ratio has decreased 32.98% over the last ten trading days (from 0.94 to 0.63). The stock has had a good month, gaining 17.%.

14. Jabil Circuit Inc. (JBL):
Printed Circuit Boards Industry. Market cap of $4.43B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 0.47 vs. 5-year average at 0.19. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.17. Put/call ratio has decreased 32.61% over the last ten trading days (from 0.92 to 0.62). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.12). The stock has gained 34.53% over the last year.

15. Sauer-Danfoss Inc. (SHS): Diversified Machinery Industry. Market cap of $2.52B. TTM operating cash flow/common equity at 1.15 vs. 5-year average at 0.43. MRQ total debt to assets at 0.19. Put/call ratio has decreased 32.0% over the last ten trading days (from 0.25 to 0.17). This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.06). Might be undervalued at current levels, with a PEG ratio at 0.68, and P/FCF ratio at 9.6. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 6.78% over the last week.

Operating cash flow/common equity, and total debt to assets data sourced from Screener.co, options data sourced from Schaeffer’s, 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: 15 Low-Debt Stocks With High Cash-Flow Growth and Bullish Options Sentiment