With the financial sector dominating the business news headlines, and financial stocks such as Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report) and JPMorgan (JPM - Get Report) 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 - Get Report), 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 - Get Report), 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 - Get Report) 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.