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Top Financial Short-Squeeze Plays

With the financial sector dominating the business news headlines, and financial stocks such as Goldman Sachs (GS) and JPMorgan (JPM) helping to lead some moves higher, now may be the time to look at heavily shorted names in the sector in anticipation of a snapback, when short-sellers scramble to cover their positions.

This is especially true with companies such as Lehman Brothers (LEH) and UBS (UBS), who are fighting the short-sellers by issuing stock to increase their liquidity. The key ratio for analyzing short-squeezes is the short ratio, which represents the number of days it would take for those shorting a stock to cover their bearish positions should the stock start moving higher, based on the stock's recent average daily trading volume.

With this in mind, Stockpickr has compiled a list of the Top Financial Short-Squeeze Plays.

One of the stocks with a high short ratio is Woori Finance Holdings (WF), a South Korean-based financial services and banking company with a short ratio of 45.5. The stock rose 9% April 1, following Lehman Brothers' liquidity news. Woori has a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 6.6 and a P/E-to-growth ratio of 0.6.

Woori appears in a Stockpickr portfolio called South Korean Stocks You Can Invest In From US. Other stocks in the portfolio include Kookmin Bank (KB), which has a 1.4 short ratio, Shinhan Financial Group (SHG), with a 0.9 short ratio, and SK Telecom (SKM), with a short ratio of 2.

Another stock with a high short ratio is Greenhill & Co (GHL), a New York investment banking firm with a short ratio of 34.2. The company recently appointed its managing director Richard Lieb to the chief financial officer position. The stock has a forward P/E ratio of 14.6, a PEG of 1 and a yield of 2.5%.

Greenhill is a stock owned by Al Gore's investment vehicle, Generation Investment Management. Gore also owns shares of Johnson Controls (JCI), with a short ratio of 4, Aflac (AFL), with a 2.1 short ratio, and Becton, Dickinson (BDX), which has a short ratio of 0.9.

Enstar Group (ESGR) is another financial stock with a high short ratio; the manager of insurance companies has a short ratio of 24.1. The company recently closed its acquisition of AMP Limited's Australian-based reinsurance and insurance operations. The stock has a trailing P/E ratio of 22.

Enstar is a favorite of top stock value investor and hedge fund manager Michael Price. He also holds Tyco Electronics (TEL), which has a 1.9 short ratio, CBS (CBS), with a 5.5 short ratio, and Northwestern (NWEC), with an 11.6 short ratio.

For for other heavily shorted stocks in the sector, check out the Top Financial Short-Squeeze Plays at Stockpickr.com.

At the time of publication, Altucher and/or his fund had no positions in stocks mentioned, although positions may change at any time.

James Altucher is president of Stockpickr LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of TheStreet.com and part of its network of Web properties, and a managing partner at Formula Capital, an alternative asset management firm that runs a fund of hedge funds. He is also a weekly columnist for the Financial Times and the author of Trade Like a Hedge Fund, Trade Like Warren Buffett and SuperCa$h. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Altucher appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

TheStreet.com has a revenue-sharing relationship with Trader's Library under which it receives a portion of the revenue from purchases by customers directed there from TheStreet.com.

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