NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Markets have a 76% probability of rising in December because of the "Santa Claus rally" effect, and that could lead to a rise in a few technology stocks with high short ratios. According to Birinyi Associates, since 1990 the S&P 500 has risen an average 2.2% from Black Friday to the end of the year. That could be a benefit to owners of technology stocks with high short positions as shorts are forced to cover their positions. A short squeeze takes place when a stock that has a high short position sees the shorts start to cover their shares and buy them back. As this scenario plays out, more shorts start to cover and the share price continues to climb. The short-to-cover ratio indicates how many days based on average daily volume it would take all of the shorts to cover their shares and buy them back. There are several scenarios for a short squeeze, including the year-end melt up across the major indices. There are also issue-specific reasons, including earnings, a new product, management changes, or positive analyst coverage. Here are five technology stocks with very high short interest.
Fusion-IOFusion-IO ( FIO) went public on June 9, and has been one of the few initial public offerings this year to perform well, gaining 19.56%. But a reliance on three customers (including Apple ( AAPL) and Facebook) for 77% of its 2011 revenue has shorts whetting their appetites. As of the end of November, 9.8 million shares were held short. The stock has a 2.67 short-to-cover ratio, according to Nasdaq.com. Shares have come under pressure lately, as the company recently sold 3 million shares in a secondary offering, and insiders selling 5.8 million shares. Fusion-IO reported fiscal first-quarter earnings last month, with revenue growing 175% year over year to $74.4 million. The Utah-based maker for flash memory priced its IPO at $19 a share. The stock went public at $22.50, and sthe hares have been in an uptrend since bottoming Sept. 22 at $15.11.
TravelzooTravelzoo ( TZOO) publishes travel and entertainment deals in both North America and Europe, and over the summer the company announced it would be competing with Groupon ( GRPN) in the local deal space. The shares soared, reaching a high of $103.80 back on April 25. As euphoria wore off in the space, shorts have increased their exposure. Analysts and investors have called into question the business model of the daily deal space, as a host of companies are now in the space, including Amazon ( AMZN), Google ( GOOG) and Living Social to name a few. Short interest is now more than 5 million shares on Travelzoo, with a short-to-cover ratio approaching 12. Any kind of positive news, such as earnings or positive analyst coverage, may cause shorts to cover. Shares have declined more than 34% since the beginning of the year, and trade at 15.8 times expected 2012 earnings.
OpenTableOpenTable ( OPEN) is another high-flying stock that has seen an increase in its short position as the business model comes into question. As of Nov. 30, OpenTable had a short interest of just over 9.9 million shares, and a short-to-cover ratio of 10.6. Shares have retrenched from an April high of $118.60 as Google announced it was buying Zagat Survey, and getting into the electronic-reservation business to compete with OpenTable. There are other competitors as well, including LiveBook. The San Francisco-based company reported quarterly earnings on November that missed analysts' estimates. It reported non-GAAP earnings of 30 cents a share on revenue of $34.4 million. Wall Street was looking for earnings of 30 cents on revenue of $35.9 million.
ZaggZagg ( ZAGG) makes protective coverings, audio accessories, and power solutions for consumer electronics such as the iPhone, iPad, laptops, cell phones, and a host of other consumer electronics. Shares have performed well this year, gaining 46.2% year to date, but shorts have increased their positions since the beginning of the year. The short interest is over 9.2 million shares, and there is a short-to-cover ratio of 11.6 days. The Utah-based company reported earnings last month that were better than expected, and it raised its full-year 2011 revenue outlook above Wall Street estimates. The company now expects $170 million in yearly revenue. Wall Street analysts expect revenue of $168.5 million.
OCZ TechnologyOCZ Technology ( OCZ) competes with Fusion-IO in the solid state drive industry, and it has a tremendous short position, with over 20 million shares held short. The short-to-cover ratio is 14.9, the highest on this list. Shares have performed well this year, gaining 57%, far outpacing the Nasdaq. On Dec. 1, OCZ announced that preliminary third-quarter and full-year revenue would come in well above consensus. The preliminary revenue for the third quarter is $100 million to $105 million, versus estimates of $89.4 million. Full-year estimates cal for revenue above $320 million to $350 million, versus estimates of $342.6 million. In a press release, CEO Ryan Petersen said that interest in the company's enterprise and server SSD products were "exceeding our expectations, due to accelerated adoption of our SSDs by server OEMs and enterprise customers." Despite the positive accolades, OCZ has come under fire recently for performance and quality, and the company had to issue a press release regarding the problems. >>To see these stocks in action, visit the 5 Tech Stock Short-Squeeze Candidates portfolio on Stockpickr. -- Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/commodity_bull. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org