Stock screeners

So you’ve opened an online brokerage account and you’re ready to begin trading – but what stocks should you start with? There are literally thousands and thousands of publicly traded companies listed on stock exchanges in North America. Manually sorting through this vast array of stocks to find a few that interest you would be a nearly impossible task.

Fortunately, you can use a stock screener to help you find stocks that you might want to trade, and to save time when you begin researching companies.

Before using a stock screener, it’s important to understand all of the measure and metrics that are available for you to use in your search. By acquainting yourself with financial ratios and the factors that you need to consider when valuing a stock, you’ll be able to conduct a more effective search.

For example, if you are interested in dividend-paying stocks, you would use dividend yield as one of your search criteria. If you are interested in companies that might be undervalued, you could search according to financial ratios like price to earnings (P/E). If you are interested in trading stocks in a particular industry, you could narrow down your search that way as well.

Also, understanding common characteristics of companies in certain industries will give you an edge when it comes to finding trading opportunities using a stock screener. Some financial ratios that are common to leading firms in one industry might look a little different, on average, in another sector’s top companies.

As you begin to use one, you’ll learn that a stock screener is a tool that is crucial for executing any profitable trading strategy.