A stock screener helps investors to quickly filter through thousands of stocks in the hopes of finding good investment opportunities. The best stock screener allows investors to create their own unique criteria giving them a possible edge over the average investor and the market. To do this, it must include several features that sadly are not available in many of the popular offerings.
First and foremost is the ability to select specific values or ranges for your criteria. Many of the popular screeners only offer preset selection such as Price to Earnings under 5 or under 10. Finviz stock screener does this which is pictured below.
Zacks stock screener pretty much does the same, as you cannot add more than one instance of a criteria.
If the sweet spot for Price to Earnings is between 6 and 14, or Market Cap is between 500 million and 5 billion, you're out of luck. This is very problematic in that you do not have the ability to fine tune values and refine your strategy.
The second most important function of a good stock screener is the ability to customize and combine your criteria. Setting a criteria such as Market Cap greater than $500 million is easy. But what if you wanted to purchase stocks whose Market Cap was not more than 140% of book value. This is a very real and powerful criteria and few stock screeners allow you to do this.
The best stock screener allows for nearly any range or combination for their criteria such as Enterprise Value divided by EBITDA being less than 6. This uncommon ratio can be used to determine whether a stock is a good acquisition candidate. Neither Zacks screener nor FinViz offers the ability to combine criteria which greatly hampers an investor's choices in stock selection.
One of the most powerful and affordable stock screeners available that can accomplish these important functions is Genovest. Genovest offers the ability to set specific values and ranges for any criteria and makes combining criteria to create unique ratios a simple process. Below is a picture of the Genovest Stock Screener.
Having the ability to refine your strategies to determine what are the best stocks to buy in the current market is the hallmark of the best stock screener. However, you still need to be able to test how well your screen selections will perform.
The last attribute of a great stock screener is the ability to set a date in the past to run your screen and see how the selections fared. The only stock screener among the popular offerings that does this is again Genovest where you can set your screens to run at any date within the past 20 years. You can also automate the process with the Genovest Stock Market Backtester.
Using the best stock screener will not only save you time and increase your returns, it will give you a better sense of how the market functions and minimize investment risk in the process. Don't settle for an inferior stock screener. Find one that suites your investment style and provides you with the power and flexibility to find exceptional stocks.