One sector that has turned up some high short interest is the industrial goods sector, which includes everything from aerospace to building materials to farm machinery to manufactured housing to waste management.The primary metric for measuring short interest is the short ratio, which is the number of days it would take for short-sellers to cover their bearish positions, based on the recent daily volume of shares traded. The short ratio can be used to find short-squeeze plays, whereby on any unexpected good news, a stock that is heavily shorted can spike upward. With that in mind, Stockpickr has put together the Top Industrial Goods Short-Squeeze Plays, a list of industrial-goods stocks with very high short ratios. A stock on the list with one of the highest short ratios is Heico ( HEI), a Florida-based company that makes and markets aerospace, defense and electronics-related products. The stock has a high short ratio of 29.7. The company just reported fiscal fourth-quarter earnings of 40 cents a share, up from 35 cents a share a year ago. This increase was primarily because of significant sales in its flight-support division. The stock has a price-to-earnings ratio of 37, a P/E-to-growth (PEG) ratio of 1.7, and pays a small yield of 0.2%. Heico also shows up in the Stockpickr portfolio called MSN Money 40 Best Technicals, which contains exactly what it says, the top 40 technical stocks according to MSN Money. Other stocks in this portfolio include Agco ( AG), with a short ratio of 2.5, Affiliated Managers Group ( AMG), at a 15.8 short ratio, and Healthways ( HWAY), with a 26.3 short ratio.
Another industrial-goods stock with a high short ratio is Mobile Mini ( MINI), which is in the business of portable storage products. The company just issued guidance for 2008, with an earnings forecast of $1.50 to $1.60 a share. It also just entered a new Canadian market, purchasing the portable storage and mobile office division of Centreline Equipment Rentals of Ontario. The stock, which has a short ratio of 20.4, has a P/E of 15 and PEG of 0.8. Mobile Mini is a stock owned by Pacific Advisors Small Cap A Fund, which invests 80% of its assets in small-cap companies. The fund has generated an average annual return of more than 36% over the last five years. Pacific Advisors also owns Hornbeck Offshore Services ( HOS), with a short ratio of 9, Terra Industries ( TRA), with a 6.4 short ratio, and Kirby ( KEX), with a 3 short ratio. Ameron International ( AMN) is another stock with a high short ratio -- 14. This engineered products and materials manufacturer has a P/E of 14, a PEG of 1.2, and it pays a yield of 1%. Ameron is part of Claymore/Sabrient Stealth Fund, an ETF that tracks the Sabrient Stealth Index, which contains 150 stocks having little or no Wall Street analyst coverage. Other stocks in the portfolio include Lindsay ( LNN), with a 10 short ratio, and NewMarket ( NEU), with a 5 short ratio. For a complete list of the top 10 industrial goods stocks with the highest short ratios, check out the Top Industrial Goods Short-Squeeze Plays at Stockpickr.com.