Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

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screening tools

Top 10 screening tools for stock investors use to help identify the securities most worth buying.

Rather than spend hours sifting through the roughly 3,600 equities listed on U.S. stock exchanges one by one, investors increasingly are using sophisticated screening tools. These top 10 screening tools for stock investors find equities and funds that meet a given set of criteria.

Most tools don’t stop there. With the resulting securities, programs often provide technical and financial data, offer analysis and give investors a much deeper understanding of their results. The outcome is investors finding a greater number of viable investments and opportunities to strengthen their portfolio which, in turn, increases their profit.

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Which of the screening tools you use depends largely on what type of investor you are and what information you seek. A professional day-trader will have very different needs from an income investor, so the best tools for them will vary accordingly.

This list is a compilation of 10 different online screening tools based on individual priorities. While committing to one of these screening tools may take some experimentation, many of them on this list are free to use or offer free trials, allowing investors to explore their functionality and find what suits them the best.

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

1. Best Overall: TradingView

TradingView offers a robust and easy-to-use screening tool suitable for both new investors and seasoned veterans. It has a wide selection of technical specifications, allowing the user to quickly and accurately screen stocks, preferred stocks, depositary receipts and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). The tool focuses on technical analysis but have a surprisingly user-friendly interface — something often neglected by screeners with its caliber of technology. TradingView has very little in the way of descriptive analysis, although it does offer some basic suggestions from analysts.

The screener is usable in a number of other markets, with an impressive system for both foreign exchange (Forex) and Cryptocurrency.

Screens can be saved and alerts set for securities on a watchlist. Most notably, all of these features alongside the detailed charting tools and rich fundamental analysis are available in the free version. Those who opt for the pro version will find slightly fewer interface restrictions, such as being able to open more charts at once for comparison, but they also will have access to real-time data. Although expansive, the free version of TradingView has delayed data, so investors executing more advanced strategies or day trading may want to consider the pro-version.

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If the free version doesn’t meet your needs, pro plans start at $14.95 per month with a 30-day free trial available.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

2. Best for Fundamentals: Finviz

Finviz (from “financial visualizations”) may not be as pretty as TradingView, but its set of 46 possible filters and no-nonsense style of data presentation is capable of just as much work. It is remarkably easy to navigate and allows the user to see both fundamental data and technical charts for every result of the screen simply by scrolling through the page, where other tools may require you to open a new tab for each one. For this and the wealth of customization options, comparing securities on Finviz is a breeze and fantastic way to view fundamental data on a clean interface.

The program falls short in two areas: there is no way to narrow your search to ETFs or mutual funds, and multiple filters of the same type cannot be used simultaneously, restricting how specific the users can make any search.

The free version of Finviz is very complete but like TradingView, requires a premium subscription to access real-time data. Finviz Elite also gives investors pre-market data, a backtest-engine and additional screening filters to accelerate the search further still. Although its features are expansive, it lacks the breadth and detail of a few more rigorous screening tools later in this list. Investors interested in using technical data to aid their trading strategy should consider this a fantastic starting point.

Subscriptions to Finviz Elite start at $24.96 per month. Although there is no free trial, Finviz does honor a 30-day money-back guarantee.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

3. Best for Simplicity: Yahoo Finance

Yahoo Finance is a popular option with a long list of free functionalities. The premium version allows access to company outlook and a satisfying number of technical metrics, but the strength of Yahoo Finance is its clear, simple presentation of both quantitative and qualitative data, most of which is available without cost. Unlike other free screening tools, the website streams quotes in real-time. It can screen for equities, mutual funds, ETFs, futures, and indexes with a long list of filters to fit the specific needs of a given portfolio. It also offers downloadable historical data for many of these securities.

Yahoo Finance has a comprehensive list of pre-built screens and allows users to build and save their own. While results are not as conveniently organizable or comparable as some other screeners, Yahoo Finance does offer a heatmap to view them. This can be a helpful visual for interpreting the changes in a given market or large group of securities.

The website is easy to navigate and gives investors useful qualitative information, such as top holders, sustainability, a convenient news section and detailed company or fund profiles. However, although the technical side is pleasing, it is only really available to premium subscribers. With plans starting at $34.99 per month (with a 14-day free trial), serious investors are likely to find more detailed technical analysis for a lower price from other options on this list.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

4. Best for Financial Analysis: Stock Rover

What Stock Rover lacks in ease it makes up for in sheer power. The screener has several years of downloadable historical data, portfolio management with text and email alerts, and over 650 financial metrics to screen from (with an additional 300+ in the premium version). Investments can be charted and rigorously compared with real-time data that is accurate to the minute, allowing for in-depth analysis several steps above the industry standard.

Investors can use Stock Rover to create complicated equations, do correlation analysis, and use basic logic to get even more specific with their screening activities. Viewing the results of a screen is not difficult either, as moving the mouse over any particular security will give the user a cursory overview, with a basic chart and all of the central fundamental data. The tool is just as powerful when scanning for exchange-traded and mutual funds. Stock Rover is consistently a top choice for value investors.

Here’s the kicker: the program is far from pretty, and its strength comes with a steep learning curve to match. Those new to investing will likely be overwhelmed by the sheer mass of data, and even more experienced investors may have a hard time navigating the screener without decision fatigue. Stock Rover has a lot of options that, for the majority of investors, will be unnecessary and somewhat gratuitous. Those interested in heavy analysis will feel right at home, but other investors might consider more user-friendly screening tools.

Stock Rover’s free plan will be satisfactory for many, but the premium version grants access to unlimited stock warnings and ratings, additional historical data, margin of safety ratings and more screening filters. There is a 14-day free trial available and plans start at $7.99 per month.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

5. Best for Beginners: Zacks

Zacks stock screener is a well-organized screening tool with custom inputs for a vast number of possible filters. It is expansive enough to power the official NASDAQ stock screener and keeps its filters in clean categories, inviting newer investors to make use of its more rigorous criteria. Zacks is capable of scanning for ETFs and mutual funds in addition to stocks, but the tool shines in its ability to screen for earnings per share (EPS) data in much more detail than much of the competition, allowing investors to specify EPS surprises, average EPS surprises and several other options.

The tool is useful for beginners not only in its easy-to-navigate interface but also in its educational content. Moving the mouse over a particular metric will give a brief, one or two-sentence explanation as to both what it means and also what reasonable values to look for are.

The difficulty in Zacks screening tool is it can be cumbersome to evaluate several companies at the same time. Information is compacted and offered in several different tabs, which could be considered a pro- or con- depending on what type of user interface interestes a given user.

Although much of the program is free, users will need a premium account to truly maximize the value of Zacks. A subscription gives access to analyst ratings, prebuilt screens and more detailed screening criteria with the potential to make a search much more efficient. Plans start at $249 per year with a 30-day free trial.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

6. Best for Intermediate Traders: TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade has six different platforms available for traders and investors. Although the website has a screening tool that works fine, the popular Thinkorswim program has a built-in tool called Stock Hacker. It offers a robust set of screening features that are usable for both new investors and those more familiar with markets. Alongside the basic fundamental filters, investors can use Stock Hacker to screen for a wide range of technical criteria, including candlestick patterns, price correlation and an option to code your own custom filter. Past the screening tool, TD Ameritrade is a strong choice for those wishing to experiment with new strategies, as it has a unique “paper money” feature that allows users to invest fake money in stocks or portfolios of interest before sinking real capital into an investment.

The platform has real-time data streaming available for free to non-professionals, making it a useful tool for those more interested in day trading than value and income investing. It is, however, not easy to use. Those new to investing are likely to be off-put by the overwhelmingly large number of its tools and should expect to invest a considerable amount of time into growing comfortable with the program.

The screening tool is powerful, albeit not as technically remarkable as a few other options on this list. A bigger downside, however, is that the Stock Hacker is limited to stocks alone — investors cannot use the program to effectively screen for ETFs, mutual funds, or other securities. To do that, users will have to navigate back to the basic screening tool available on the TD Ameritrade website, which has a considerably less impressive set of criteria.

Both the web program and Stock Hacker are available to anyone with a TD Ameritrade account. Luckily, there is no capital requirement, so investors can open an account for free and experiment with the tools as they see fit.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

7. Best for Income Investors: Dividend Investor

The strength of the screening tools available on DividendInvestor.com are in its namesake: dividends. Investors with a focus on passive income will feel right at home with its extensive data on dividend history, payments and expectations. Preset filters such as the Dividend AllStar ranking allow investors to screen based on consecutive dividend increases, expected and trailing yield, payment frequency and several other metrics. While the screener has a host of other filters and the results have all of the necessary fundamental data, the information will be largely centered around dividends — depending on the investor, this could make a search quick and easy or somewhat frustrating.

The rolling dividend history is best-in-class, encompassing the trailing 20 years where other programs are often limited to 5 or 10. Additionally, the website offers dedicated screening tools for ETFs, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other types of securities, but the filters used to screen them do not offer as much detail or customization as other programs on this list. It also lacks a robust charting system or detailed technical analysis, so those more focused on short-term holds or day trading might look elsewhere.

For income investors prioritizing dividends, however, Dividend Investor is a remarkably easy to use program that provides exactly the relevant information. Most of the features are available for free, but a premium subscription is necessary to unlock complete dividend history, more detailed screening tools and analysts’ research. Plans start at $29.99 per month.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

8. Best for ETFs and Mutual Funds: Morningstar

Morningstar is a giant in the world of fund ratings and comprehensive financial tools, so it’s fitting that the screening tool a subscription provides is worthwhile. The tool is most useful in evaluating securities, with access to analysts’ opinions alongside detailed metrics for the vast majority of its database. As a screening tool in itself, however, Morningstar is most useful in looking for exchange traded and mutual funds. Among the standard financial metrics, investors can screen for portfolio composition, industry weightings and even management data, allowing a much higher level of specification than a typical screener would.

The extent of technical information provided may not be as rich as its competition, but the qualitative data from Morningstar is exceptional. Investors are given detailed company profiles for stocks and in-depth descriptions of fund management that go so far as to describe manager strategy, tenure and personal holdings.

Outside of funds, the screening filters offered by the tool are satisfactory, although they may not be as easy to use or as extensive as other options. Investors relying on analysts’ reports will get great mileage out of Morningstar, where those more interested in the technical and financial insights might consider a more data-centric tool. the free version allows access to some of the screening tools, but the analysts’ reports (where Morningstar truly excels) and other elements are only available with a premium subscription. The website offers a 14-day free trial, after which plans start at $199 per year.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

9. Best for Derivatives: TeleTrader

TeleTrader offers a rigorous screening platform specifically designed for futures and derivatives, which are notoriously difficult (if not impossible) to screen for on most other platforms. The program provides high-level data and detailed charting options for results, and while it’s capable of screening for stocks as well, it’s in other markets that TeleTrader stands out from its peers. Users are able to specify expiration dates, issuer and dividend yields. There are also several other criteria that can be used to find the appropriate derivatives. The data is clearly presented and entirely real-time, with 50 years of historical information on many of its securities.

Here is the downside: the filtration capabilities of the screener itself are underwhelming and do not allow users much freedom in their searches. The criteria are mostly non-customizable and comparably few when looking at the high-standards set by other screening tools. However, this is all changed in the premium version targeted at professional day-traders, allowing a far greater number of screening tools and highly-detailed analysis. That said, plans start at $69 per month, a steep price for those not making several trades per day to make use of the program.

 

Top 10 Best Screening Tools for Stock Investors

10. Best for Real-Time Information: Benzinga Pro

Finishing out the list with another tool aimed primarily at day-traders, Benzinga Pro offers users 61 filters to explore its high-speed, real-time data with relative ease. Investors can use preset screens or define their own on the platform, but the unique nature of Benzinga Pro begins with its alert system. After setting the parameters for a screen, users can opt in to receive notifications whenever a security enters or leaves the resulting set of stocks. The program also scans news articles and can notify you whenever a particular phrase (i.e. “FDA approval” or “resigns”) appears in a headline.

Benzinga Pro can also read news headlines out loud rather than display them on the screen. This feature, as well as the clear charting and efficient dissemination of information, makes the workspace remarkably clean, allowing users to create and monitor several workspaces at once. The financial and technical data provided are well-above the industry standard but avoid overwhelming users in their presentation. The platform scans for stocks and ETFs, but its functionalities for other types of securities are limited and its tools for scanning dividends leave something to be desired.

Benzinga Pro is the most expensive program on this list with basic plans starting at $99 per month. Full access costs $177 per month and is likely necessary for users to make use of the features that make the platform competitive. There is, however, a 14-day free trial that includes everything the program has to offer.

 

While many investors will opt to take short-cuts by investing in ETFs or mutual funds — which is absolutely still an effective strategy — those more interested in analysis and the mechanics of their portfolio should find a screener that suits their individual needs. There are dozens of effective screeners on the web that may be more appropriate for them, so this list is in no sense comprehensive. Investors should consider this a starting point as they explore what screeners will give them the best and most profitable experience as they optimize their portfolio.

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jonathan

 

Jonathan Wolfgram is an editorial staffer who writes website content at Eagle Financial Publications. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with Bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Philosophy. Jonathan writes for www.DividendInvestor.com and www.StockInvestor.com.


 

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