Disclaimer: Lean Investments is a financial education and entertainment website. None of the content below should be misconstrued as investment advice or a recommendation. The author holds none of the positions mentioned below.
Utilizing stock screener websites can be a game changer for active investors and traders. Whether you are a value investor with precise criteria for valuation metrics or a day trader looking for unusual daily volume, a stock screen can quickly identify new companies to start further research on while also revealing new trends in the market that you may have previously overlooked.
A good stock screener will have access to all of the public companies in the markets you are interested in, provide detailed information ranging from fundamental analysis metrics like valuations, technical indicators like momentum, provide a clear overview of the balance sheet, as well as up-to-date company insider trades. More advanced options include the ability to backtest your strategies and identify specific candlestick patterns that technical traders rely on before entering or exiting a trade.
A few simple use cases include:
- Dividend-oriented investors can screen for stocks with a 3% plus yield and a payout ratio below 50%. This might reveal companies with above average dividend yields that have the capacity to raise them further over time.
- Deep value investors can screen for companies in each sector and look for the lowest price-to-book ratio as a basis for doing further research on potentially undervalued companies.
- Active momentum traders can screen for stocks with unusually high volume and then drill down on a company’s news and technical patterns to see if a gap up might forthcoming.
There are a wide variety of these websites available for investors ranging from free to super premium. We list three of our favorites below and provide some details on what make them stand out and where they might be lacking depending on your particular investing or trading preferences.
FINVIZ: Best for Visual Appeal
FINVIZ is a popular stock screener website that offers both a free and premium version of its service. The stock screener feature has everything both fundamental and technical traders could need to screen for new ideas across the major stock exchanges including NYSE, NASDAQ and AMEX. However, FINVIZ does not offer support for OTC shares, which may well be a dealbreaker for those focused on those types of stocks.
For mainstream stocks available on Robinhood, however, FINVIZ is a great choice not only for its stock screener capabilities but also its visual appeal in providing maps of the market, which can be segmented by the S&P 500, foreign stocks and all stocks listed on US exchanges. Additionally, FINVIZ’s “groups” feature allows users to review relative performance by sector, sub-sector, country and market cap. Both the maps and groups feature are visually appealing ways to provides users with information that may lead to more detailed queries in the stock screener section. FINVIZ also pulls in news from a variety of mainstream business news and blog sources and is very well updated.
If you like working in FINVIZ you may want to consider upgrading to FINVIZ Elite for $24.95 per month. The upgrade unlocks real-time market data, the ability to backtest technical indicators, the ability to export data from your screens and much more.
Barchart: Best for OTC Stocks
Barchart answers for FINVIZ’s biggest shortcoming by offering access to OTC stocks. This is crucial for those who either like to hunt for unusual and overlooked investments or for those who actively trade OTC penny stocks, a style popularized recently by Tim Sykes. OTC penny stock traders are particularly reliant on stock screener websites because there are so many different stocks, many of which are quote obscure and the action quickly moves from different stocks and sectors day to day, making current data on volume and gaps in either direction critical for focusing on the right stocks.
Barchart does not have the same visual appeal and additional mapping tools of FINVIZ, but it is an extremely solid and reliable stock screener for both OTC and mainstream index stocks. The capabilities of the screener in terms of technical and fundamental indicators are roughly equal to that of FINVIZ, so if you have any use of OTC stock data, Barchart is the clear option to go with for now.
Like FINVIZ, Barchart has a premium ad-free version called Barchart Premier that costs $29.99 per month and offers similar benefits such as unlimited watchlists and screens, more customization capabilities for screens and the ability to export data to Excel.
Yahoo Finance: Best Free Option
Yahoo Finance is a classic stock research and screen website. While in some ways it’s not quite as detailed as the other two options above, it has a key feature that might make it more appealing for those on a budget: the free version of Yahoo Finance’s stock tools are relatively solid and are not marred nearly as much as Barchart and FINVIZ by annoying ads.
For that reason Yahoo Finance is a great place to do basic research and the data quality is generally excellent and well-updated. For those who don’t need as much on the technical analysis side or to drill down super deep, you may be able to get most of what you need from Yahoo Finance, especially if you are a buy and hold investor. Yahoo Finance also offers a superior mobile app experience and makes it easy to save all of your favorite stocks in one place, even if you don’t create an account.
In order to make Yahoo Finance a more pleasant experience you will need to create an account and sign in in order to have fiery basic functionality such as saving multiple watchlists and screens. This is still a better option for a lot of new traders than having to pay for premium features. Yahoo Finance has rolled out paid tiers of service through Yahoo Finance Plus, including a Yahoo Finance Lite at $25 monthly, which adds features such as alerts and fewer ads, while Yahoo Finance Essential unlocks additional analysis from Morningstar and Argus, as well as insight into advanced chart patterns and many more features.
For those who start on the free version of Yahoo Finance and enjoy the experience it may make sense to try the upgrade when you are ready.
Above are three of the most effective stock screener websites for both long-term investors and active traders.