For those of you interested in picking your own stocks, one challenge is finding the right companies to invest in and, more importantly, buying stocks at the right price. For instance, if you like dividend paying stocks, some may choose to screen for low book values or payout ratios instead of buying based on yield. One way to do this is to use an online stock screener to filter results based on valuations that work for you.
What I look for in a stock screen is the ability to screen based on numerous fundamentals. One popular stock screener that I’ve extensively used in the past is the MSN Money version, but although it was quite powerful, it didn’t give the option for Canadian stocks. Screening for Canadian stocks has always been limited until recently. More on this below! Here are some of the popular stock screeners on the web today, some of which I use often.
Top Canadian Stock Screeners
- TMX Stock Screener – This is a new stock screener that was mentioned in the reader comments and I believe that this is the same stock screener that Questrade uses as well. Although not the most powerful stock screener out there, it’ s perhaps as powerful as it’s going to get for Canadian exchanges. This screener is 100% free, and allows for multiple custom criteria for the most advanced investor. On the results page, you can edit the columns to display different criteria as you please.
- Google Finance – Since MSN Money was retired (see below), Google has picked up the slack with their own version of a free stock screener. They have recently included Canada and the TSX. Their screening options are comparable to TMX but with an interface that just seems to flow a bit better.
- Globe Investor – This one is a popular Canadian stock screener, but the free version is very basic. You can choose between US or Canadian markets, but only gives you the option to screen for a few variables like earnings, book value and dividend yield.
- Stock Charts – For those of you who like to use technical analysis of stock charts when choosing your buy/sell points, stockcharts.com has a nifty stock screener based on technical analysis alone (including TSX). I like to use these pre-defined screens for momentum ideas for the “play” portion of my portfolio.
- Finviz (former #1 pick, but bumped due to limited selection of stocks) This is a relatively new stock screener that I’ve found while searching for ideas in my top stock picks post and is perhaps my favorite at the moment. What gives this site an edge is that it offers every imaginable fundamental and technical screen choices along with the option of the US or Canadian market. For example, you can screen Canadian dividend stocks with a particular dividend yield, low payout ratio, and trading above its 50 day moving average. Something that is very rare and best of all, it’s free! Note though, if you are a newer investor, then this site may be a bit intimidating. Update: Readers have pointed out that Finwiz only shows Canadian stocks listed on the NYSE, which is not ideal.
Other Notable Stock Screeners
- Yahoo Finance – While I don’t have much experience using Yahoo’s stock screener, it appears to have a similar interface as Globe Investor with limited options. As well, this does not screen Canadian markets.
- MSN – As mentioned before, the main stock screen tool in town was the MSN Money tool. While this tool does not screen Canadian stocks, it has numerous valuation metrics to choose. However, it appears that this tool was retired in Nov 2009.
For those of you who buy and sell stocks, do you use a stock screener? If so, which ones do you use?
A number of readers in the comments have recommended ADVFN, it’s a free service, you can check them out here.