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If you like to follow the buying trends of institutional investors like hedge fund managers and mutual fund managers, you may be interested in this list. We ran a screen on dividend stocks with low debt for those seeing the most significant net institutional purchases over the last six months. ‪ 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 think these stocks pay reliable dividends? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis. List sorted by dividend yield.

1. S&T Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ:STBA): Operates as the holding company for the S&T Bank, which provides community banking services in Pennsylvania. Market cap of $517.51M. Dividend yield at 3.26%, payout ratio at 43.06%. Total debt/equity at 0.27. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 731.0K, which represents 2.77% of the company's 26.42M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 7.54% (equivalent to 13.69 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 10.5% over the last week.

2. Ecology & Environment, Inc. (NASDAQ:EEI): Provides professional services to the government and private sectors worldwide. Market cap of $70.85M. Dividend yield at 2.83%, payout ratio at 28.21%. Total debt/equity at 0.04. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 77.3K, which represents 2.97% of the company's 2.60M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 6.54% over the last week.

3. ManTech International Corporation (NASDAQ:MANT): Provides technologies and solutions for national security programs in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $1.22B. Dividend yield at 2.52%, payout ratio at 22.58%. Total debt/equity at 0.19. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 1.2M, which represents 5.14% of the company's 23.34M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 11.84% (equivalent to 10.58 days of average volume). The stock has lost 15.94% over the last year.

4. Symetra Financial Corporation (NYSE:SYA): Operates as a financial services company in the life insurance industry in the United States. Market cap of $1.14B. Dividend yield at 2.51%, payout ratio at 13.13%. Total debt/equity at 0.18. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 15.9M, which represents 13.30% of the company's 119.58M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 11.4% over the last week.

5. MTS Systems Corp. (NASDAQ:MTSC): Supplies test systems and industrial position sensors in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Market cap of $634.97M. Dividend yield at 2.47%, payout ratio at 25.91%. Total debt/equity at 0.19. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 322.4K, which represents 2.08% of the company's 15.51M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 7.18% over the last week.

6. Texas Roadhouse Inc. (NASDAQ:TXRH): Operates a full-service, casual dining restaurant chain in the United States. Market cap of $1.01B. Dividend yield at 2.20%, payout ratio at 27.56%. Total debt/equity at 0.10. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 1.3M, which represents 2.18% of the company's 59.58M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 12.97% (equivalent to 7.1 days of average volume). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 14.2% over the last week.

7. Badger Meter Inc. (NYSE:BMI): Engages in manufacturing and marketing liquid flow measurement and control technology products worldwide. Market cap of $449.06M. Dividend yield at 2.15%, payout ratio at 36.10%. Total debt/equity at 0.01. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 473.8K, which represents 3.30% of the company's 14.35M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 9.54% (equivalent to 10.75 days of average volume). The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 10.41%.

8. RPC Inc. (NYSE:RES): Provides a range of oilfield services and equipment to the oil and gas companies primarily in the United States. Market cap of $2.92B. Dividend yield at 2.03%, payout ratio at 14.20%. Total debt/equity at 0.20. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 1.6M, which represents 3.18% of the company's 50.37M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 7.42% over the last week.

9. JMP Group Inc. (NYSE:JMP): Operates as an investment banking, asset management, and corporate credit management company in the United States. Market cap of $157.51M. Dividend yield at 1.68%, payout ratio at 30.33%. Total debt/equity at 0.17. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 412.5K, which represents 2.62% of the company's 15.72M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 7.85% over the last week.

10. Tennant Company (NYSE:TNC): Engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing cleaning solutions worldwide. Market cap of $769.52M. Dividend yield at 1.66%, payout ratio at 33.55%. Total debt/equity at 0.17. Net institutional shares purchased over the past quarter at 814.3K, which represents 4.39% of the company's 18.53M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 5.41% over the last week. *Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 10 Low Debt Dividend Stocks Being Bought By Hedge Funds