Value Ideas: Insiders Think These Cash-Rich Small-Cap Stocks Are Undervalued

For the past few months, small-cap stocks have been the darlings of the stock market. But recently, investors have started to sour on these high-growth, high-risk names.

This raises an interesting question: Does the recent pullback in small-cap stocks offer a good entry point for those who missed out on the rally?

It's a tough question to answer. But the market behavior of more sophisticated traders can be a good litmus test.

Like short-sellers, for instance. They are among the most sophisticated types of investors, so it's worth having a look at what they're doing.

When an investor "goes short," he's actually betting on his stock to lose; instead of buying low to sell high, he's selling high to buy low.

Here's how it works: A short-seller borrows shares from other investors and sells them on the open market. Sooner or later, he has to return them, and closes the short by buying back the same number of shares he initially borrowed.

If he can buy back the stock at a lower price, he turns a profit off the difference.

Short-sellers take on unlimited risk because they have unlimited downside (theoretically, there's no upper limit on the stock's upside) -- if the stock keeps rising, they keep losing. For this reason, they tend to be quite a bit more sophisticated than the average investor -- so if they're shorting a stock, there's a pretty good chance that trouble lies ahead.

That said, if short-sellers cover their positions (i.e., buy back the borrowed shares), it means they think the upside potential of the stock outweighs the downside.

This creates the potential for a short squeeze -- a scenario where demand from short-sellers pushes the stock price higher.

For this list, we wanted to identify the small-cap stocks that have been crushing bearish short-sellers.

To create the list, we started with a universe of about 230 small-cap stocks with significant insider buying over the last six months. To refine the list, we looked at short-seller activity, and identified the small-cap stocks that have seen the largest decreases in short interest over the last month.

Short-sellers and company insiders think the upside potential of these stocks outweigh the downside -- an encouraging signal for those looking to buy small-cap stocks on the dip. What do you think? Use the links below to analyze. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. American Superconductor (Nasdaq: AMSC  ) : Diversified Electronics Industry. Market cap of $510.04M. Over the last six months, insiders have been net buyers of 1,508,478 shares, which represents about 3.86% of the company's float of 39.04M shares. Shares shorted have decreased from 12.57M to 11.26M over the last month, a change that is equivalent to 3.36% of the company's float.

2. AMAG Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: AMAG  ) : Diagnostic Substances Industry. Market cap of $342.16M. Over the last six months, insiders have been net buyers of 991,150 shares, which represents about 7.68% of the company's float of 12.91M shares. Shares shorted have decreased from 1.91M to 1.62M over the last month, a change that is equivalent to 2.25% of the company's float.

3. RAIT Financial Trust (NYSE: RAS  ) : REIT. Market cap of $236.17M. Over the last six months, insiders have been net buyers of 101,693 shares, which represents about 0.09% of the company's float of 111.35M shares. Shares shorted have decreased from 13.27M to 11.68M over the last month, a change that is equivalent to 1.43% of the company's float.

4. Conns (Nasdaq: CONN  ) : Electronics Stores Industry. Market cap of $181.72M. Over the last six months, insiders have been net buyers of 20,000 shares, which represents about 0.14% of the company's float of 14.39M shares. Shares shorted have decreased from 5.16M to 4.97M over the last month, a change that is equivalent to 1.32% of the company's float.

5. Deer Consumer Products (Nasdaq: DEER  ) : Home Furnishings & Fixtures Industry. Market cap of $253.6M. Over the last six months, insiders have been net buyers of 350,000 shares, which represents about 1.98% of the company's float of 17.67M shares. Shares shorted have decreased from 3.32M to 3.11M over the last month, a change that is equivalent to 1.19% of the company's float.

*Insider trading and short float data sourced from Yahoo! Finance. Data sourced on Friday afternoon, May 27.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research. Note: The numbers on top of items represent the forward P/E ratio, if available.


Kapitall's Eben Esterhuizen does not own shares of any companies mentioned.

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Read/Post Comments (3) | Recommend This Article (2)

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2011, at 11:40 AM, jscilla wrote:

    All 'insider' buying wasd done by one family, the

    Douglas family. They are only considered an insider because they own more than 10%(or is it 5%). They

    are not involved with operations of the company and as such, I don't consider them true insiders. I believe

    it is misleading to say there is insider buying at this

    company, which,as of now, is a disaster.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2011, at 12:07 PM, jscilla wrote:

    the comment I posted at 11:40 referred to AMSC.

  • Report this Comment On June 02, 2011, at 2:35 PM, ClevelOfficer wrote:

    AMSC. See my other postings yesterday. Re insider buying, it's actually way above 1.5m shares... according to Yahoo/SEC filings:

    April 6 3,000,000 Buy (1.8m + 1.2m) - this alone is 6% of AMSC

    April 5 200,000 Buy

    April 4 95,000 Buy

    March 905,000 Buy (i rounded conservatively, for the whole month)

    January 250,000 Buy

    There has been a lot of Buying. I wouldn;t be surprised if this wealthy Director's family has been buying more

    Possibly Director will take the company Private??

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