After deciding to explore investing in the US markets from India and post finding an online trading site at no cost (see earlier post on Zecco which provides a facility to trade and doesn’t charge commissions.) it was time now to find good free stock screeners which would help me find potential investment candidates in the US markets.
Searching for companies which meet your criteria of investment can be a cumbersome task. Fortunately the Internet abounds with Free Stock Screeners which can make the task easier. Not all stock screeners, are made equal, nor are all extremely flexible, some are designed for a particular kind of search, however most stock screeners are getting more flexible.
I’ve listed below my impressions of some of these various stock screeners, though it’s not meant to be a comprehensive review of them. Maybe some day I’ll do a comprehensive review of these stock screeners.
The stock screener provided by MSN Money is quite good. It allows you to set various fundamental parameters.
You can choose to set parameters according to Investment Returns, Price Ratios, Financial Condition, Growth Rates, Current Financial’s, Analyst Projects, Advisor info etc. The one thing I’d however like to see here is Free cash flow growth rate, however since MSN doesn’t calculate Free CashFlow, it’s obviously not going to show up in the Stock Screener.
It’s quite comprehensive and you can save your custom criteria for later re-use.
This is a Java based Stock Screener, you go to the site, wait for a few long seconds and then a new window pop’s up with the Yahoo Finance Screener (currently in version 2.0.8). It provides a number of criteria such as Descriptive(which index, no. of employees etc.), Share Performance, Trading & Volume, Valuation, Analyst Estimates, Ownership, Dividends, Margins, Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Profitability, Growth, Cash Flow. I found it takes quite a bit to get used to it.
A web based stock screener focused on evaluating companies using the criteria specified in Phil Town’s book Rule#1. It has a nice theory section where it defines the Big 5 criteria of Phil Town style investing and how it calculates intrinsic value or Sticker price as Phil calls it. Extremely simple to use, just put in a stock ticker and it evaluates the stock based on publicly available data and provides a report on the BIG5 etc.
Buffetteers Edited on 28th Sept 2007, the site doesn’t seem to work anymore. Well supposedly based on how maybe Buffet would identify companies. It provides filters by Operating Performance, Financial’s, Valuation, Growth indicators, and allows you to select fields which you can display in the report. I gave it a cursory look. Might examine it in detail later on. If you register it allows you to save your custom search criteria. Weirdly their terms & conditions link didn’t work when I clicked on it.
It provides pre-defined screens such as: Solid Stocks Solid companies, S&P 500 Dogs, High Quality High Dividends, Small Cap Value, Large Cap Growth and has a Custom Screen as well where you can select parameters based on Company Overview, Performance, Growth Trends, Valuation, Management Efficiency, Analyst Estimates, Financial Strength, Current Financial’s, Dividends, you can even save your custom criteria for re-use later.
Please feel free to provide me links(via comments) to other stock screeners and I’ll add them out here.
I’ve not rated these stock screeners, I’ll leave that for later once I start using them regularly.