How To Use A Stock Market Screener

A stock market screener can be a very useful tool that allows us as stock traders to find suitable stocks for consideration.  As successful investing requires a fair amount of research, using a stock screener effectively can be a great first step when researching potential investments.

You can use a stock screener to search all major stocks that meet a criteria that you specify. Most stock screeners allow you to do very comprehensive searches based on your individual needs.  While some are more advanced than others, and each investment objective is different, you may have to try various stock screeners to see which one you prefer.

Many online brokers offer stock screeners as a part of their trading platform, and these can be excellent as well.  Keep in mind that the more criteria you can use to screen stocks the better, as this allows for more comprehensive results, and a greater possibility of a successful investment.

Personally I like the free stock screener from google. It is very user friendly, is free for everyone to use,  and also allows you to search stocks on factors including:

  • Market Capitalization
  • P/E Ratio
  • Dividend Yield %
  • 52 week price change
  • Last price
  • Earnings per share
  • 52 week high and low
  • Dividend data such as dividend yield
  • Financial ratios such as cash/share, book value/share, total debt/equity
  • Return on investment
  • Gross profit margin
  • Growth rates

and many many more. With the free google stock screener, you can search by any set of metrics that you like. You will then be presented with all the results that meet your selected critera. An example of this is shown below:

Here I just did a quick scan for all stocks with a market cap above $50bn, but you would be able to enter any criteria you would like to use to locate stocks..

Once you have got a list of stocks that meet your criteria, you can and should investigate them further. With google, you just click on the stock and you are then presented with a lot more information about the stock and comprehensive charting.

Google is by no means the only free stock screener out there, with many companies and brokers offering stock screeners that you can use for free. Some of the many other very good ones including:

Yahoo Stock Screener
Market Watch Stock Screener
MSN Stock Screener

It is very important to keep in mind that stock screeners are only one way of choosing stocks for investments, and further research will be necessary prior to committing any capital.  Once you have selected a stock based on your stock screener’s results, continue to research all potential investments for strong fundamentals and continued growth.  Simply because a security fits your initial requirements does not mean that it is a long-term winner.  Companies cut dividends, lose market share, and fail for a number of other reasons so it is always advised to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of a business, and its long-term potential.

If you need some help choosing a stock broker after finding suitable stocks for your investment portfolio, I have also put together a list of the best discount stock brokers.

In addition, if you are looking to trade penny stocks, I have also spent a lot of time looking for the best penny stock brokers.