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Analysts use the put/call ratio as an indicator for the sentiment surrounding a stock – if a stock’s put/call ratio drops, it indicates that fewer options traders are bearish on the company’s outlook.

We ran a screen on stocks trading under $5 for those that have seen significant drops in put/call 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.



Do you agree with options traders on these stocks? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

List sorted by market cap.

1. Nomura Holdings Inc. (NYSE:NMR):
Provides financial services in Japan and internationally. Market cap of $13.50B. Price at $3.65. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.83 to 0.54 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -34.94%. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.22% over the last week.

2. Dynegy Inc. (NYSE:DYN):
Engages in the production and sale of electric energy, capacity, and ancillary services in the United States. Market cap of $443.23M. Price at $3.70. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.50 to 0.41 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -18.0%. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 19.12% below its SMA20, 18.59% below its SMA50, and 33.37% below its SMA200. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 29.02%.

3. Hercules Offshore, Inc. (NASDAQ:HERO):
Provides shallow-water drilling and marine services to the oil and natural gas exploration and production industry in the U. Market cap of $432.94M. Price at $3.13. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.34 to 0.21 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -38.24%. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 3.08). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 19.39% over the last week, but performed poorly over the last month, losing 20.3%.

4. Navios Maritime Holdings Inc. (NYSE:NM): Operates as a seaborne shipping and logistics company in Greece. Market cap of $311.79M. Price at $3.18. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.06 to 0.04 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -33.33%. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.71). The stock has lost 46.52% over the last year.

5. ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZIOP):
Focuses on the development and commercialization of in-licensed cancer drugs in North America. Market cap of $303.70M. Price at $4.44. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.39 to 0.13 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -66.67%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 13.11% (equivalent to 13.98 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 15.32% over the last week. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 10.12%.

6. Force Protection Inc. (NASDAQ:FRPT):
Engages in the design, manufacture, testing, delivery, and support of blast- and ballistic-protected vehicles. Market cap of $280.94M. Price at $3.99. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.42 to 0.11 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -73.81%. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 12.01% over the last week.

7. Newcastle Investment Corp. (NYSE:NCT):
Operates as a real estate investment and finance company that invests in and manages a portfolio consisting primarily of real estate securities. Market cap of $262.34M. Price at $4.24. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.22 to 0.18 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -18.18%. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 5.21% below its SMA20, 9.74% below its SMA50, and 24.96% below its SMA200. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 12.8% over the last week.

8. Willbros Group Inc. (NYSE:WG):
Provides engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) services to the oil and gas, refinery, petrochemical, and power industries primarily in the United States, Canada, and Oman. Market cap of $223.51M. Price at $4.70. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.23 to 0.06 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -73.91%. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.51). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7.44% (equivalent to 5.76 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 26.03% over the last week. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 18.58%.

9. Excel Maritime Carriers, Ltd. (NYSE:EXM):
Provides sea borne dry bulk cargo transportation services worldwide. Market cap of $182.18M. Price at $2.30. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.20 to 0.15 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -25.0%. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.79). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 10.4% (equivalent to 9.6 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 14.44% over the last week.

10. Delcath Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:DCTH):
Operates as a specialty pharmaceutical and medical device company. Market cap of $164.13M. Price at $3.46. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.40 to 0.32 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -20.0%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 17.48% (equivalent to 9.87 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 8.92% over the last week.

11. Kongzhong Corp. (KONG):
Provides wireless interactive entertainment, media, and community services to mobile phone users in the People's Republic of China. Market cap of $157.08M. Price at $4.15. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.06 to 0.03 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -50.0%. Might be undervalued at current levels, with a PEG ratio at 0.8, and P/FCF ratio at 4.18. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 10% over the last week.

12. BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX):
Designs, optimizes, and develops small-molecule pharmaceuticals that block key enzymes involved in infectious diseases, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. Market cap of $118.74M. Price at $2.83. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.04 to 0.03 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -25.0%. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.25). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 11.16% (equivalent to 19.25 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.2% over the last week.

13. Gentiva Health Services Inc. (NASDAQ:GTIV):
Provides home health services and hospice care in the United States. Market cap of $107.14M. Price at $3.69. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.12 to 0.06 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -50.0%. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading -30.62% below its SMA20, -46.09% below its SMA50, and -81.77% below its SMA200. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 47.37%.

14. Novatel Wireless Inc. (NASDAQ:NVTL):
Provides wireless broadband access solutions for the mobile communications market worldwide. Market cap of $104.84M. Price at $3.17. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.67 to 0.43 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -35.82%. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 11.9% (equivalent to 7.86 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 12.76% over the last week.

15. Southwest Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:OKSB):
Operates as the holding company for the Stillwater National Bank and Trust Company and Bank of Kansas. Market cap of $82.81M. Price at $4.21. Put/Call ratio changed from 0.20 to 0.04 between 09/26/11 to 10/07/11, a change of -80.0%. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 11.81% over the last week.

*Options data sourced from Schaeffer’s, all other data sourced from Finviz. Data sourced October 12th.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

Source: 15 Stocks Under $5 That Options Traders Are Bullish On