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If you like to follow the buying trends of institutional investors such as hedge fund and mutual fund investors (a.k.a. the “smart money”), you may be interested in this list.

We ran a screen on stocks trading under $3 for those seeing significant net institutional purchases over the current quarter.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the 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.

Do you agree with institutional investors on these names? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

List sorted by net institutional purchases as a percent of share float.

1. Quantum Corporation (NYSE:QTM): Operates as a storage company that provides backup, recovery, and archive solutions to small businesses to multinational enterprises in the United States and internationally. Thursday's closing price at $1.87. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 21.4M shares, which represents about 9.94% of the company's float of 215.27M shares.

2. Claude Resources, Inc. (NYSEMKT:CGR): Engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of precious metal properties, as well as production and marketing of minerals in Canada. Thursday's closing price at $2.02. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 12.8M shares, which represents about 7.85% of the company's float of 163.14M shares. It's worth pointing out that the stock has a low short float (currently at 0.07%), which may suggest that sophisticated investors, like short sellers, think the stock's upside potential outweighs the downside.

3. Charming Shoppes Inc. (NASDAQ:CHRS): Operates as a specialty apparel retailer primarily for women in the United States. Thursday's closing price at $2.93. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 6.7M shares, which represents about 6.61% of the company's float of 101.38M shares. The stock has been through a period of significant and sustained selling, and is currently trading below its short- and long-term moving averages.

4. Sonus Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:SONS): Provides voice and data infrastructure solutions for wireline and wireless telephone service providers. Thursday's closing price at $2.39. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 13.0M shares, which represents about 5.54% of the company's float of 234.74M shares.

5. Standard Pacific Corp. (NYSE:SPF): Operates as a diversified builder of single-family attached and detached homes in the United States. Thursday's closing price at $2.49. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 4.7M shares, which represents about 4.47% of the company's float of 105.24M shares.

6. Star Scientific, Inc. (CIGX): Engages in the development, implementation, and licensing of tobacco curing technology that prevents the formation of carcinogenic toxins present in tobacco and tobacco smoke, primarily the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA). Thursday's closing price at $2.42. Net institutional purchases in the current quarter at 3.3M shares, which represents about 3.23% of the company's float of 102.17M shares. It's been a rough couple of weeks for the stock, and it's currently stuck in a strong downtrend.

*Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 6 Stocks Under $3 Being Bought Up By Institutions