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Screening Strategies

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James Montier Trinity of Risk Screen

James Montier Trinity of Risk is a short selling strategy that uses rules suggested by economist and equity strategist James Montier, who wrote Value Investing. He based the approach on three risk factors highlighted by value investor Benjamin Graham: Valuation Risk, Earnings Risk and Financial Risk. It identifies companies that could be overvalued, have poor quality earnings and might be financially distressed. Specifically it uses the Graham & Dodd price-to-earnings ratio and looks for companies that are reporting exceptionally high earnings growth but fail the Altman Z Score of balance sheet risk. James Montier wrote: "Risk isn't a number, it is a concept or a notion? Rather than running around obsessing on the pseudoscience of risk management, investors should concentrate on understanding the nature of this trinity of risks." Short selling shares can be very risky but the Trinity of Risk can still be used as an indicator of which stocks should be avoided. more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: 2.2%
Dividend Achievers Screen

Dividend Achievers is an income strategy inspired by an index run by Nasdaq OMX. It looks for companies that have grown their cash dividend payouts for at least the past five consecutive years. Apart from the dividend growth streak, this strategy looks for companies with reasonable share trading liquidity, strong cash reserves, a solid balance sheet and a proven record of consistent earnings growth. In his book Beating the Street, investing legend Peter Lynch, said: "The dividend is such an important factor in the success of many stocks that you could hardly go wrong by making an entire portfolio of companies that have raised their dividends for 10 to 20 years in a row." According to M&G Investments, the total cumulative return from the S&P 500 in the 10 years to 2011, with dividends reinvested, was 32%. But the return soared to 136% by investing solely in US companies that had grown their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: 2.2%
Dividend Dogs (Forecast)

Forecast Dividend Dogs of the FTSE is a high yield income strategy inspired by the popular 'Dogs of the Dow' approach of US investor Michael O'Higgins, who wrote Beating the Dow. It simply selects the 10 highest yielding stocks in a major market index like the FTSE 100, the S&P 500 or the FTSE Eurofirst 300. This version of the strategy uses the rolling 1-year forecast yield. It's main safety net is that blue chip stocks tend to be large, mature and well financed companies with long histories of weathering economic turmoil. O'Higgins wrote: "Beating the Dow is based on simple logic that will produce exceptional returns in any rational market and until excessive popularity turns contrarianism into conventional wisdom." O'Higgins suggested rebalancing the Dividend Dogs portfolio once per year, based on the highest yields available. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: 2.1%
52 Week High Momentum Screen

52 Week High Momentum is momentum strategy that was explored in a paper called The 52-Week High and Momentum Investing by academics Thomas George and Chuan-Yang Hwang. It capitalises on the positive momentum effect which appears to cause stocks that are at, or close to, their 52 week high prices continuing to outperform. It is believed to work because investors tend to under-react to positive news about previously successful stocks and are reluctant to bid their prices higher, even if the positive news warrants it. When the full impact of the information prevails, and the 52 week high is broken, the market "wakes up" and prices see further gains. George and Hwang wrote: "Our results indicate that the 52-week measure has predictive power whether or not individual stocks have had extreme past returns. This suggests that price level is important, and is consistent with an anchor-and-adjust bias." The original research found that, between 1963 - 2001, the average monthly gain to this strategy assuming a 6 month hold was 0.45% - "about twice as large as those associated with other momentum strategies". more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: 1.9%
Best Dividends Screen

Best Dividends is an income strategy inspired by research into high yield investing by the American Association of Individual Investors. It is based on the premise that a stock's dividend yield will rise if its share price falls. The screen aims to identify which of these value shares is best placed to bounce back in price and be able to sustain dividend payouts. To do this it looks for a 5-year average yield of more than 5%, a track record of dividend growth and a conservative dividend payout ratio. It's an approach that echoes David Dreman's High Dividend value strategy. Dreman found that between 1970 and 2010 high yield stocks beat the market by nearly 1% and outperformed no or low yield stocks by 4%. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: 1.6%
Richard Driehaus Screen

Richard Driehaus Momentum is a momentum investing strategy inspired by an approach used by US investor Richard Driehaus. It combines a focus on price and earnings momentum in small and mid-cap companies with strong, sustained earnings growth. Importantly, Driehaus wanted to find companies that had produced significant earnings surprises over the previous year by beating analyst forecasts. Driehaus said: "I would much rather invest in a stock that's increasing in price and take the risk that it may begin to decline than invest in a stock that's already in a decline and try to guess when it will turn around." Driehaus's fund management firm Driehaus Capital Management was reported to have delivered compound annual returns of 30% during the 12 years after it was started in 1980. Driehaus was named in Barron's "All-Century" team of the 25 most influential and powerful mutual fund managers in 2000. more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: 1.2%
David Dreman Low PE Screen

David Dreman Low Price to Equity is a value strategy developed by the renowned US fund manager and author David Dreman in his book Contrarian Investment Strategies. It uses a basic value filter of selecting the cheapest 40% of the market by P/E ratio and filtering further for quality according to company size, financial strength and growth. Dreman favoured the P/E strategy above all others: "Our money management firm uses the low-PE method as it's core strategy, but also utilizes the other 3 contrarian strategies extensively." Dreman's studies showed that the cheapest 20% of the market by P/E outperformed the most expensive 20% by 6.7% annually. It should be cautioned that Dreman's portfolio did suffer in the 2008 financial crisis due to an overweighting of low P/E banks. Dreman though continues to evangelise the power of contrarian investing to counter behavioural biases. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: 0.0%
T Rowe Price Screen

Thomas Rowe Price Jr Growth is a growth-at-a-reasonable-price investing strategy based on the approach of US fund manager Thomas Rowe Price, Jr. It combines growth and value rules, with a focus on improving earnings, margins and positive cashflow together with a reasonable price-to-earnings ratio. Rowe Price said: "A forward-looking investor must be able to reasonably assess and evaluate the currents and the tides and be prepared to reckon with winds or storms, which are unpredictable." A screen based on these rules tracked by the American Association of Individual Investors returned 22.6% in the five years to 2015. Rowe Price founded his own investment firm T.Rowe Price Associates in 1937, which today manages in excess of $730bn of assets. more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: -0.4%
Buffettology-esque Historical Growth Screen

Warren Buffett Historical Growth is a quality investing strategy inspired by an interpretation of Warren Buffett's investment approach by Mary Buffett and David Clark in their book, The New Buffettology. It is a strategy that combines Buffett's focus on value and business quality. To work out whether the stock is reasonably valued, the strategy uses historical earnings growth; the higher that growth rate is, the more likely it is that the company has a durable competitive advantage. The strategy also looks for low debt and a high earnings yield, return on equity and return on capital employed. In The New Buffettology, Mary Buffett and David Clark explain: "Historical per share earnings that are both strong and show an upward trend indicate a durable competitive advantage." Remember, Buffett is famous for looking beyond financial measures when examining the quality of a business franchise. more »

Quality Investing
6 Month Return: -0.5%
Neglected Firms Screen

Neglected Firms is a value investing strategy inspired by Ludwig Chincarini and Daehwan Kim in their book, Quantitative Equity Portfolio Management. It uses value and quality measures to find neglected shares that are under-researched by analysts and potentially misunderstood by investors. It looks for companies with low analyst coverage, above average earnings growth and that are cheaply priced according to their price-to-earnings and price-to-book ratios. Chincarini and Kim explain: "It is likely that neglected firm's stock prices do not reflect all the relevant information available and that their prices will react sluggishly to relevant news. This opens a window of time and opportunity for an astute investor to purchase undervalued, neglected stocks and reap the rewards when the market recognizes the stocks' true values." Academic research by Avner Arbel and Paul Strebel found that between 1972 and 1976 comparatively neglected S&P stocks easily outperformed those that were well researched. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -1.0%
Altman Z-Score Screen

The Altman Z-Score is a checklist for identifying stocks that might be at risk of bankruptcy. It was created by US finance Professor Edward Altman and detailed in a book he co-authored, called Managing Credit Risk. The Z-Score is a red flag indicator that can be used as a short selling strategy. It analyses five weighted business ratios to estimate the likelihood of financial distress. Broadly, these checks examine a company's asset, strength, profitability, solvency, efficiency and ability to generate earnings. Altman wrote: "The detection of company operating and financial difficulties is a subject which has been particularly amenable to analysis with financial ratios." Tests over 31 years to 1999 found the Z-Score to be 80-90% accurate in predicting bankruptcy one year prior to the event. The Z-Score is one of the components used in another short selling strategy: James Montier Trinity of Risk. more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: -1.3%
Quality Income Screen

Quality Income is a dividend strategy focused on firms with strong fundamentals and high yields, based on research by Societe Generale. It looks for quality income stocks using checklists for identifying strong financial health, low bankruptcy risk and high, but not excessive, yields. Specifically, firms must be capitalised at more than £800 million, have a Piotroski F-Score of more than 7 out of 9 and a strong Altman Z-Score. Yields are capped at 15% to avoid potential dividend traps.The SocGen team explains: "As a real asset class, we think Quality Income is an attractive alternative to anyone buying credit thinking that’s the only way to generate a high yield." SocGen found that quality income stocks produced standout total returns that averaged 11.6% per year since between 1990 and 2012, more than doubling the return of the global equity markets but with significantly reduced volatility. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -1.6%
Beneish M-Score Screen

The Beneish M-Score is a checklist for identifying stocks that might be manipulating their earning figures. It was created by US finance Professor Messod Daniel Beneish and presented in a paper called The Predictable Cost of Earnings Manipulation. The M-Score is a red flag indicator that is often used as part of a short selling strategy. It calculates and distils eight different accounting variables into a single score. Generally, a score greater than -1.78 (i.e. a less negative or positive number) indicates an increased likelihood of a firm being an earnings manipulator. Beneish wrote: "We show that firms with a high probability of overstated earnings have lower future earnings, less persistent income-increasing accruals, and lower future returns." The M-score strategy apparently generated a hedged return of nearly 14% per year, mostly from the short positions. more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: -2.3%
Value Momentum Screen

Value & Momentum is a strategy that aims to find undervalued stocks with positive price momentum. It is inspired by research by AQR Capital Management as well as the American Association of Individual Investors' "Value on the Move" screen and Jack Hough's "Impatient Value" screen in his book, Your Next Great Stock. The strategy combines value and momentum, which are two disciplines that have been found to work very effectively when combined. It looks for a reasonably low PEG, positive relative strength and a share price within 10% of its 52-week high in companies with sales of more than £100 million. Value and momentum not only provide strong returns but are also negatively correlated. That means that when when one strategy works well, the other lags - one zigs when the other zags. Over time, this helps to create a smoother profit line, as the volatility of each strategy cancels the other out. more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -3.0%
Benjamin Graham Deep Value Checklist

Benjamin Graham Deep Value Checklist is a value investing strategy based on rules suggested by legendary investor, Benjamin Graham, who wrote The Intelligent Investor. The strategy focuses on building portfolios of both large and small value stocks. It involves a 10-point checklist of valuation ratios and financial measures. Ben Graham regarded the most important of those measures to be earnings yield, dividend yield and for total debt to be less than book value. Ben Graham wrote: "Try to buy groups of stocks that meet some simple criterion for being undervalued - regardless of the industry and with very little attention to the individual company. It seems too good to be true, but all I can tell you after 60 years of experience, it seems to stand up under any of the tests I would make up." Societe Generale backtested the strategy to 1992 and found that the group of stocks scoring 9 and 10 on the list returned 37.1% and 48.7% per year respectively. Ben Graham devised the Deep Value Checklist late in his life as a much more systematic approach than his other value investing strategies. more »

6 Month Return: -3.0%
Benjamin Graham Enterprising Investor Screen

Benjamin Graham Enterprising Investor is a deep value investing strategy based on rules suggested by legendary investor, Benjamin Graham, who wrote The Intelligent Investor. The strategy focuses on value stocks and the ability to buy them with a significant margin of safety. It uses valuation ratios including price-to-earnings and price-to-book but also looks for a history of earnings growth and dividend payouts. Ben Graham once said: "The determining trait of the enterprising investor is his willingness to devote time and care to the selection of securities that are both sound and more attractive than the average." Enterprising Investor is a less strict approach than Ben Graham's defensive strategies, which often focus on large, well financed and profitable companies. Instead, it looks for unpopular companies, special situations and 'bargain' issues. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -3.4%
Charles Kirkpatrick Growth Screen

Charles Kirkpatrick Growth is a strategy pioneered by Charles Kirkpatrick, the renowned US investment strategist who wrote Beat the Market & many books on technical analysis. It combines relative growth and momentum factors in large capitalisation stocks. Specifically it looks for the top 20% of shares with the strongest share price vs 130-day Moving Average and then the top 10% with the strongest growth in operating profit. Kirkpatrick reinforced his strategy by studying point-and-figure charts to determine whether a stock was in an uptrend, which helped to guide his trading decisions. In an award winning paper by Kirkpatrick, entitled Stock Selection: A Test of Relative Stock Values Reported over 17 ½ Years, he wrote: "Relative price strength and relative reported earnings growth, when calculated in the manner of this study, showed superior results when compared to market averages." In Beat the Market, Kirkpatrick claimed that his stock-picking technique had outperformed the S&P 500's performance by 7.7x over 25 years. more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: -4.1%
Dreman Low Price to Cash Flow Screen

David Dreman Low Price to Cashflow is a contrarian value strategy developed by the famous US investment manager and author David Dreman in his book Contrarian Investment Strategies. It uses a basic value filter of selecting the cheapest 40% of the market by Price to Cashflow ratio and filtering further for quality according to company size, financial strength and growth. Dreman favours cash flow over earnings: "If we take two companies with similar outlooks, markets, products, and management talent, the one with the higher cashflow will usually be the more rewarding stock. In investing, as in your personal finances, cash is king." Dreman's studies showed that the cheapest 20% of the market by P/CF outperformed the most expensive 20% by 6.8% annually. Dreman cautions towards a buy and hold approach because "transaction costs are often not recognized by investors, but can be very expensive". more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -4.2%
Richard Beddard's Nifty Thrifty Screen

Richard Beddard Nifty Thrifty is an investing strategy based on the approach of UK investor and journalist, Richard Beddard of Interactive Investor. It combines quality and value factors using Joel Greenblatt's Magic Formula and Joseph Piotroski's F-Score. The Magic Formula ranks stocks for value and quality using the earnings yield and return on capital as its key metrics. The F-Score is a 9-point checklist of financial health, of which stocks qualifying for this strategy must pass at least 5. Beddard said: "I don't really see how you can be an investor if you're not trying to understand businesses; how they make money, and what makes them go bust." Between June 2010 and December 2014, Beddard's own Nifty Thrifty portfolio had returned 47%. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -4.6%
Philip Fisher Growth Screen

Philip Fisher Growth is a growth investing strategy inspired by the approach of legendary US investor Philip Fisher, who wrote Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. The strategy is based on his 15 point checklist for finding growth stocks. It looks for a track record of strong sales growth, above average net margins and a low price-to-earnings growth rate over five years. Philip Fisher wrote: "If the right stocks are bought and held long enough they will always produce some profit. Usually they produce a handsome profit." His most famous investment was stock in Motorola, which he acquired in 1955 and held until his death, during which time the shares grew 20-fold. Philip Fisher's investment management firm is now headed by his son, the highly regarded value investor, Ken Fisher, whose stock picking strategy is also tracked by Stockopedia. more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: -6.6%
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