A stock screener is a filter; it allows you to cut down the vast universe of stocks to a small number that meet your specific criteria. Stocks that don't meet your fundamental or technical criteria are eliminated from the search results. Different stock screeners offer different tools to filter trades - some focus on technical analysis while others focus on pattern recognition (charts) or fundamental analysis. Here are 10 of the best stocks screeners, one of which should suit your needs regardless of the type of trader you are.
More than just a stock screener, Finviz is a visually-oriented site. 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.
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 service is free with delayed data, sign up for Elite to get real-time charts and more features.
UncleStock allows you to choose from a wide array of defined stock screens based on popular fundamental analysis methodologies. For example, the “Graham checklist” screen is based on Benjamin Graham’s (a famous trader from the early 1900s) top four selection criteria for stocks. Quickly find stable dividend paying companies with the “Dividend top” screen, or focus on companies with very high cash flows using the “FCF Cows” screen.
The screens include stocks from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia and over-the-counter markets.
Further refine the results based on geographic location, sector and industry.
Once you have a list of stocks, click on the “fundamental analysis” tab to see a full breakout of the company’s financial ratios as well as other financial information on the company.
Chartmill allows you to filter stocks based on multiple criteria, including price, volume, industry and sector. Refine your search based on technical criteria such as proximity to moving averages, average true range (ATR), price performance, Bollinger bands, and proprietary filters such as “squeeze plays,” which highlight stocks that could pop out of a consolidation. Find stocks trading near long-term support or resistance, or stocks that are very strong or weak.
Chartmill also allows you to save default settings so you don’t need to type in the same information every time. The service is free although you will need to sign up for an account to see your full screener results.
StockFetcher.com (free and paid)
StockFetcher is one of the most comprehensive technical analysis stock screeners available. The screener allows you to type in your own criteria, which creates virtually endless possibilities for finding very specific stocks.
There is a learning curve, though; how you type the criteria needs to meet certain formatting requirements – like writing a very simple computer program. There are tutorials available and an active forum to get support when needed.
This method allows traders to very specifically identify technical criteria, rather than choosing from defined lists. The free version allows you to build and save screeners, but only shows five stocks from your search results; the paid version for $8.95/month gives you full access to your screener results.
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.
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 $199/year (which includes access to other products and services from Zacks as well).
PastStat is loaded with pre-defined screens so you can quickly see which stocks match certain technical criteria. You are able to see screens based on common indicators, such as the ATR, Bollinger Bands, RSI, Money Flow, and others. See which stocks are running higher or lower for consecutive days, as well as top gainers and losers in terms of weekly performance.
In addition to a custom screener, where you can select stocks based on your own criteria, the site also offers a seasonality screener. See stocks that have consistently performed well in a certain month, and see stats related to their performance. Look at different months and filter stocks based on volume and profit factor.
Yahoo! Finance (free)
For those looking for a very simple and free fundamental stock screener, Yahoo! Finance provides a product for you.
First, select stocks from a certain industry or index. Then further filter those results based on share price, market capitalization, dividend yield and beta. Filter based on corporate information such as sales revenue, profit margin, earnings per share and estimated earnings per share growth.
Also, quickly screen for bonds and funds using the same interface (but different criteria).
Trade-Ideas gives you a huge list of variables you can set parameters for. Set minimum and maximum parameters for common features such as price and volume, but also screen for dollar-volume, number of prints (transactions) per day, volatility ($ or %), and 5-day price range (and other price range increments).
Choose from hundreds of additional technical criteria, like those above, or set minimum and maximum criteria for fundamental variables. Screen based on earnings growth, debt, beta, assets, income/debt, revenue growth and others.
Screen for stocks in Canadian and U.S. markets, as well as OTC and pink sheets.
Prophet Charts (free)
Prophet charts are included in the Thinkorswim trading platform from TDAmeritrade. Signing up for a free “paper money” account provides free access to the charting platform.
Use Prophet Charts to screen for stocks that are displaying specific chart or candlestick price patterns.
The software attempts to recognize patterns such as triangles, head and shoulders and pennants, along with other pattern types. It also screen for stocks displaying engulfing candles, dojis or other candlestick patterns.
Once you have a list of stocks, click on one to bring up a chart and see the pattern. Hold your mouse over the pattern and the software provides a prediction for where the price could go based on the pattern.
Reduce the number of patterns by filtering for price, volume and U.S. exchange.
Based on purely technical analysis, the StockCharts pre-defined screens (scans) gives a quick look at what stocks make the list for certain technical criteria. See which stocks are making new 52-week highs, or are creating a bullish MACD crossover. Explore other pre-defined screens, including island bottoms or tops, price gaps, parabolic SAR signals, candlestick patterns, and Point and Figure patterns.
In all there are more than 70 pre-defined screens to choose from, although if there are 400 stocks that meet the requirements of that screen, there is no quick way to reduce this number further by adding additional criteria.
The Bottom Line
No matter what type of stock you are looking for, there is a stock screener that can find it. Finding the right stocks—that match your personal trading style—is a big part of trading. Trading stocks that don’t suit your needs will result in frustration. Find one or two screeners you like, as most of these are free, and get used to using it so you always know which stocks are providing you with the best opportunity to make a profit.