Home Investing 5 of the Top Stock Screeners for 2017
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5 of the Top Stock Screeners for 2017

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Generating stock ideas is one of the most difficult aspects investors face. A common resolution to this problem is to use a stock screener to help narrow down the scope of companies available. Whittling down the potential universe of stocks to just a few can also be a daunting task. This article will review 5 of the best stock screeners on the market today.

The criteria to be used is as follows:

  • Coverage
  • Cost (free vs paid for)
  • Ease of use and the user experience
  • Range of screening metrics

No.1 – Robur Stock Screener

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Ok, hands up we admit it. This is our screener so we have to rank it first. However we believe that this is justified and the review below is as unbiased as we could make it. The Robur stock screener is comes as part of the Robur Terminal, which also includes individual pages for in depth company research, and a portfolio management tool.

Cost

It costs $130 a month or $1300 a year and comes with 1 month free trial

So to the screener itself. The Robur stock screener is a fundamental screener for those who are looking to build a solid portfolio based on the company fundamental performance, i.e. for those who prefer Buffet style investing. Why fundamentals? Well fundamental analysis is the cornerstone of investing. In fact, some would say that you aren’t really investing if you aren’t performing fundamental analysis. What the screener will do is give each company a score out of 100, based on their 5 year fundamental performance – are they doing things that as investor we like such as growing revenues, increasing shareholder equity or paying off long term debt. The results of each search query will display the companies from top to bottom performing based on this percentage – helping you weed out the weak or under performing securities.

Coverage

The stock screener covers all major stock indexes, a simple drop down box at the top allows users to narrow down their search by geographical location, industry or both. The terminal then ranks the remaining companies from top to bottom performing based on their previous 5 year performance – have they been growing revenues, paying off debt, increasing shareholder equity etc. For the more advanced investor, these metrics can be altered to match your investment criteria.

User Experience

It has been built with user experience in mind. It uses a clean, user friendly interface based on the latest best UX practices.

Range of Screening Metrics

Another reason why the Robur Stock Screener is ranked first is the number or unique screening metrics. For those looking for undervalued stocks there is the option to filter out companies trading at less than their net asset value per share, net current asset value per share or using the graham multiplier. On top of that are a wide range of standard filters you would expect such as yield, P/E, PEG etc. Granted it doesn’t touch upon technical metrics like Finviz does, so it may not be so useful for day traders.

 

No. 2 – Finviz.com

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Finviz is one of the most well established screeners on the market. On the homepage you see top gainers and losers, and stocks with unusual volume. Also, you’ll see stocks that are trading near support and resistance.

Cost

Finviz is free to use and for that you get most features, but also has a paid for option which costs $39.50 a month. This option gets you real time data

Coverage

Coverage isn’t bad, although it does tend to focus much more on the US and its coverage of Asia seems to be mainly China

User Experience

Although not the prettiest, it is quick and relatively simple to use. It returns results in a second or two.

Range of Screening Metrics

The screener breaks stocks down in three sections: Descriptive, Fundamental and Technical. You can set requirements for volume, performance targets, company strength, and dividend yields, along with hundreds of other criteria. Also, you are able to choose from preset signals, such as most volatile, new high/low or recent insider buying/selling. The one problem is that it only serves up to date data. This means that the screener is only measuring the latest set of results. If a company has had a particularly bad (or good) year then this will be reflected in the results without taking in to account whether it was an anomaly or not.

However you cannot knock free. Finviz has established itself as a leading choice for those looking for stock screeners, and for good reason.

No. 3 – Zacks

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Cost

Screening stocks is free, unless you want to access premium features based on Zacks’ research. To use features such as “Zacks Rank”—which ranks stocks according to how they are expected to perform over the next three to six months—it’ll cost $199/year (which includes access to other products and services from Zacks as well).

Coverage

Zack’s weakest point by far is that it only covers US stocks, rendering it not suitable for international investors or any US based investors looking for a holistic global stock screener.

User Experience

Also looking a bit dated, it can be quite confusing to use with options along the left hand panel and ranging across the top row. It takes a bit of getting used to but when you are familiar with the layout it isn’t too difficult to use.

Range of Screening Metrics

Zacks is a very thorough screener, especially if your focus is fundamental analysis. To start, select an analysis category and then input your criteria for the items listed within it. Screen stocks based on loads of financial ratios and consensus earnings estimates. Also, you are able to filter for basic items, such as price, daily volume and exchange.

No. 4 – Financial Times Stock Screener

Often overlooked as it is buried deep in their website without any clear path to finding out without a Google Search.

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Cost

Cost is free, although if you want to save any companies to a portfolio you will need a subscription to the whole site which starts at around $35o a year.

Coverage

FT has the best coverage out of all 5 screeners, I struggled to find a company which wasn’t included

User Experience

Relatively simple once you have found it. It works in a linear fashion asking users to select country, sector then screening metrics.

Range of Screening Metrics

Unfortunately the range of screening metrics is very weak. At first glance the user and only select basic criteria such as market cap, yield and P/E ratio. There is a small link at the bottom where additional criteria can be added and this yields much better results but the effort of adding these via a popup and having to scroll through them is a bit laborious.

The FT provides a pretty good screener although the learning curve is quite steep. If the user experience could be improved to make searching, adding criteria and saving searches easier then this would be a top contender.

No. 5 – Google Finance

The most basic of the bunch and still feels a bit “beta”

Cost

It’s Google, so of course it is free!

Coverage

Very broad coverage. Google Finance covers most exchanges, however their data leaves something to be desired. They seem to often get stock prices incorrect and have a lot of missing/incorrect data points – even the basic ones like P/E or yield.

User Experience

While very simple to use, the aesthetics are down right poor. Feels somewhat like a half finished school project.

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You can see here that the boxes overlap the results and that there are many, many data points missing

Range of Screening Metrics

Once again very basic. Only 4 options are provided outside of the location and sector – market cap, P/E, yield and the 52 week high lows.

Although somewhat lacking in features the google finance stock screener does do what it is supposed to and allow you to build a very general wish list of potential buys. It works lightening fast and doesn’t need an account which is a big bonus. However for the serious investor I doubt that it can match expectations.

Did we miss off your favourite screener? Send us an email via our contact form and we will do our best to update this post

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