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Top Financial Sector Short-Squeeze Plays

The stocks in the financial sector have been the hardest hit during the last couple of months. Many of them have also been heavily shorted.

Often a heavily shorted stock proves to be oversold and can spike up especially quickly due to the short-sellers covering their bearish positions on any rise in stock price. The metric used to examine such a potential short squeeze is the short ratio. Also known as the days-to-cover ratio, this is the number of days it would take the short-sellers to cover their positions based on the stock's current trading volume.

Stockpickr has reviewed the financial sector stocks and extracted those with the highest short ratios and compiled them in a portfolio called the Top Financial Short-Squeezes.

One of the stocks with the highest short ratios is Consolidated Tomoka Land (CTO), a land sales company with a short ratio of 45.1. In its most recent quarterly report in late October, the Florida-based company reported earnings of 37 cents a share, down from 42 cents in the same quarter last year. The stock has a price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 44 and pays a small yield of 0.5%.

Consolidated Tomoka Land is owned by the Wintergreen Fund, which is run by David Winters and has generated a one-year return of more than 32%. Wintergreen also owns HSBC Holdings (HBC), which has a short ratio of 1.5, Weyerhaeuser (WY), with a short ratio of 3.7, and Reynolds American (RAI), with a 17.7 short ratio.

Another financial stock with a high short ratio is TrustCo Bank Corp. NY (TRST), which has a short ratio of 34.8. TrustCo Bank also reported a drop in earnings when it posted quarterly results in October.

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