BALTIMORE ( Stockpickr) -- As of Friday's open, the S&P 500 is sitting more than 7% lower since the start of 2011. But that's not really a fair measure of what's been going on in stocks this year.The problem is that 7% losses suggest that shorts are making money in this market. By and large, they're not. Downward moves have been swift, followed by major upside corrections. In other words, the market has been rife with bear traps this year. A more telling metric is the S&P's range right now -- from peak to trough, the S&P has actually moved more than 23% in either direction from the year's open. That's indicative of the roller coaster ride that investors have seen in 2011. But despite that reality, the 7% absolute decline in the calendar year is prompting many investors to put their short caps on and make decisive bets against stocks. With equity valuations looking cheap right now, that's creating some potential short squeezes in the S&P 500. >>5 Stocks Under $10 With Big Upside Put simply, a short squeeze is the buying frenzy that ensues when a heavily shorted stock starts to look attractive again to investors, causing share price to skyrocket. One of the best indicators of just how high a short-squeezed stock could go is the short interest ratio, which estimates the number of days it would take for short-sellers to cover their positions. The higher the short ratio, the higher the potential profits when the shorts get squeezed. Naturally, these plays aren't without their blemishes -- there's a reason that these stocks are being heavily shorted. But for investors looking for exposure to a speculative play with a beefier risk/reward tradeoff, these could be powerful upside plays for the coming year. With that, here's a look at five S&P 500 constituents that look like prime short-squeeze candidates right now.
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