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Screening Strategies

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Tiny Titans

Tiny Titans is a small/micro-cap strategy developed by O'Shaugnessy that includes both a value component and a momentum component. He suggested it for two reasons: i) Micro-cap stocks have little or no analyst coverage so are often overlooked or ignored, and ii) Micro-cap stocks have low correlation with the S&P 500 (0.66) so they can be included in a diversified investment strategy. It looks for a market cap of $25 to $250 million (£15 - 150m assumed), combined with a price to sales below 1 and is sorted by relative strength. See here for more details. more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -4.2%
Dividend Achievers Screen

This is a screen for companies that have paid increasing regular cash dividends for five or more consecutive years. It is inspired by the index run by Indxis, the Index Services unit of US player, Mergent. In addition to stipulating five or more years of increasing dividends, a stock must meet specific liquidity screening criteria. Furthermore, they must be companies with strong cash reserves, a solid balance sheet and a proven record of consistent earnings growth.  You can read more here. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -4.3%
Dividend Dogs

A dividend screen which envisages that an investor annually selects for investment the ten large cap stocks in the major market index whose dividend is the highest fraction of their price. This version uses the historic/actual yield.   Proponents of this strategy argue that blue chip companies do not alter their dividend to reflect trading conditions and, therefore, the dividend is a measure of the average worth of the company; the stock price, in contrast, fluctuates through the business cycle.  more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -4.4%
James O'Shaugnessy's Cornerstone Value

Cornerstone Value is a five criteria large-cap dividend yield-focused value screen outlined in James O'Shaughnessy’s seminal 1996 book What Works on Wall Street. His work showed that a large-caps stock portfolio with above average stock liquidity and cash flow per share which was ranked for high dividend yields performed best over the long term. Accordiing to his work, this value strategy outperformed the market producing an annual compound return of 15% from 1954 to 1996, compared to 8.3% for the S&P 500 Index (his Cornerstone Growth Strategy achieved 18% but with greater volatility). more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -4.7%
Value Momentum Screen

This is a combined value/momentum screen loosely based on the AAII "Value on the Move" screen and Jack Hough's "Impatient Value" screen in "Your Next Great Stock". It tries to uncover stocks that are bargain priced but avoid "value trap" stocks, which may languish for years until the market recognizes their “true” worth. Value and momentum investing styles might seem to have little in common but, in fact, research also indicates that momentum can be a catalyst to value.  The screen looks for two attributes: A share price within 10% cent of its 52-week high (the momentum part of the equation), and a PEG ratio – price-earnings to growth – of less than 1.5 (the value part). The PEG ratio is simply the forward price-to-earnings multiple divided by the projected growth rate in earnings.   more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -4.9%
Benjamin Graham Enterprising Investor Screen

A hardcore intrinsic value investing screen based on buying with a significant Margin of Safety but not as demanding as Graham's set of Defensive Screen criteria. Despite the name, this is not a growth screen. Graham felt defensive investors should confine their holdings to the shares of large, prominent/important, and conservatively financed companies with long histories of profitable operations. In contrast, entreprising investors could expand their universe outside of these “important” companies. He suggests looking at i) the relatively unpopular large company, ii) “special situations”, and iii) “bargain issues”.  more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -5.4%
Buffettology-esque Sustainable Growth Screen

This screen seeks to replicate the approach of Warren Buffett,   arguably the most successful living investor - based on the summary/interpretation by Mary Buffett (a former daughter-in-law) in the best-selling book, "The New Buffettology".  In Chapter 13, Mary Buffett outlines a number of screening-type criteria entitled "Warren's Checklist for Potential Investments: His Ten Points of Light", which we summarise out below. Not all of these points are quantitative in nature, admittedly, but there's certainly the beginnings of a good Buffett screen, and one with a slightly different emphasis to that of the Buffett-Hagstrom screen. This version uses the Sustainable Growth method to calculate the "expected return". more »

Quality Investing
6 Month Return: -5.6%
Price Momentum Screen

A momentum screen based on buying prior winning stocks and selling short prior losers based on the empirical observation that Investments exhibit persistence in their relative performance. Buying winners inherently conflicts with the contrarian philosophy that is part and parcel of many successful investors. Nevertheless, it has long been noted by traders that good performing investments tend to continue to do so, whereas those that have performed relatively poorly tend to continue on the same path. This screen looks for high relative strength in the last six to twelve months compared with the market (top 25%) - relative strength doesn't work over short timeframes, such as one month. It excludes the most illiquid stocks, i.e. the bottom 25% of stocks based on market capitalisation. You can read more here.  more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -5.7%
Best Dividends Screen

This is loosely based on AAII's Dividend (High Dividend Yield) Screen. As they note, screening for relative high dividend yield is essentially all about buying low and selling high but, to succeed at this strategy, it's important also to identify which which high yielding stocks have the strength to bounce back. The screen looks for a consistent dividend payment and dividend growth track record, as well as   a payout ratio below 2/3rds, a dividend growth CAGR above 3% and a yield above the historical average.. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -5.7%
Josef Lakonishok Screen

A value and momentum screen focused on finding under-valued, out-of-favor companies just at the point when the market is starting to recognise them. According to Lakonishok, investors have judgmental biases and behavioral weaknesses including the tendency to extrapolate the past too far into the future, to wrongly equate a good company with a good investment irrespective of price, to ignore statistical evidence and to develop a "mindset" about a company. As a result, "value stocks become underpriced and glamour stocks become overpriced relative to their fundamentals".  This screen looks for: At least one of Price-to-book, price-to-cash-flow, price-earnings or price-to-sales ratios more favourable than the industry  6 Month relative strength above zero  3 month relative strength above zero EPS Surprise or a trending revision in the analyst consensus more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -6.1%
Richard Driehaus Screen

This screen is based on the momentum-focused approach of Richard Driehaus, a mutual fund guru who was named to Barron’s “All-Century” team of the 25 most influential and powerful mutual fund managers in 2000. It focuses on companies with momentum in earnings and prices, particularly small- to mid-cap companies with strong, sustained earnings growth that have had “significant” earnings surprises. At the core of his strategy are earnings surprises. Companies with positive earnings surprises are buys and negatives are sells. It also values surprises in which the range or standard deviation of estimates is tighter, which has a more significant impact on subsequent returns. This strategy looks for companies with positive price momentum over the last four weeks and also considers how stocks do on a relative basis versus the S&P 500. Driehaus prefer small to mid cap stocks. The investor may also wish to monitor liquidity in terms of trading volume. more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -6.3%
Cash Accruals Screen

This screen is loosely based on the influential work of Richard Sloan from the University of Michigan, published in 1996 documenting what is referred to as the “accrual anomaly”. A pound of earnings can be comprised of assumed non-cash earnings called “accruals.” His landmark 1996 paper revealed that shares of companies with small or negative accruals vastly outperform (+10%) those of companies with large ones His paper found that investors focus too heavily on earnings and not on cash generation. They value the earnings of a high accrual company just as highly as the same earnings of a low accrual company, even though the high accrual company’s earnings are more likely to reverse in future years. When future earnings reverse, investors are “surprised” and sell off the stock causing the stock price to decline. Similarly, when a low accrual company’s earnings accelerate in future years, they are surprised in a good way. more »

Quality Investing
6 Month Return: -6.4%
James O'Shaugnessy Cornerstone Growth

The Cornerstone Growth Screen is a growth screen which combines relative strength, earnings growth and a price-to-sales value measure, as outlined in the third edition of James O'Shaughnessy’s seminal 1996 book What Works on Wall Street. According to his book, O'Shaughnessy found that his growth strategy outperformed the market producing an annual compound return of 18% from 1954 to 1996, compared to 8.3% for the S&P 500 Index (this beat his Cornerstone Value strategy which achieved 15%, although it was more volatile). more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: -7.3%
Bill Miller Contrarian Value Screen

This screen seeks to emulate the style of Bill Miller, manager of Legg Mason Value Trust. Miller’s strategy focuses on identifying securities that are trading below their intrinsic value, but differs from many value managers in that he focuses on cash earnings, not accounting earnings. He looks for firms that may be undervalued based on the present value of future cashflows, although this is not easy to screen for in detail. He says: "Ideally, what we want is a company... that has tremendous long-term economics and those economics are either currently obscured by macroeconomic factors, industry factors, company-specific factors, or just the immaturity of the business." Diversification is a crucial element in Miller’s strategy but he aims for diversification among the stocks it incorporates, rather than the sheer quantity. By focusing on companies that are being shunned by the market, this strategy takes on higher risks in hope of higher returns. The value moniker for his Fund is perhaps misleading because Miller has bought many Internet “growth” stocks. You can read more about Miller's approach here. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -7.4%
R&D Breakthroughs Screen

This screen seeks to identify research-led businesses that are investing significantly in future development in order to try to identify their potential future growth before the market does.  As Jack Hough notes, "When a company announces a breakthrough drug or a sudden advance in computer-chip technology, its shares often soar right away. Imagine being able to foresee which companies are due for such lucrative discoveries". Specifcially, the screen looks for R&D investment levels that are increasing and which equal at least 5% of annual sales and 5% of total assets. It also looks for Price to R&D ratios that are below 20x. more »

Quality Investing
6 Month Return: -7.4%
Charles Kirkpatrick Growth Screen

Kirkpatrick’s Growth Screen combines quantitative filters for relative price strength and relative reported earnings growth, and then involves point & figure chart analysis to determine whether the stock is in an upward trend. Kirkpatrick also looks for growth companies with market capitalizations of at least $1 billion and share prices of at least $10. Kirkpatrick uses point & figure charts to help in the buy and sell decision process. He only buys stocks for his Growth Model when they are in an upward trend, as indicated by two higher highs in a three-point reversal point & figure chart. You can read more here. more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: -7.5%
Philip Fisher Growth Screen

This is a growth screen based on the approach of the late Phil Fisher, one of the great investors of all time and the author of the classic book Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits. Fisher started his money management firm, Fisher & Co., in 1931 and over the next seven decades made tremendous amounts of money for his clients. Philip Fisher had a famous 15 point checklist for investing in stocks. Even though it includes numerous qualitative factors, it's possible to glean some key quantitative criteria too: Consistently strong profitability; Consistent sales growth; Growth exceeding industry norms; Little or no dividend payout; and Reasonable price compared to future growth prospects You can read more about Philip Fisher's approach here. more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: -7.6%
Altman Z-Score Screen

This is a short-selling strategy based on the Altman Z-score which combines five weighted business ratios to estimate the likelihood of financial distress. The idea is that, if the Altman Z-Score is close to or below 3, it is wise to do some serious due diligence. The Z-score results usually have the following "Zones" of interpretation: any Z-Score above 2.99 is considered to be a safe company. Anything below 1.80 is in the distress zone, with a strong likelihood of the company going bankrupt within the next two years, while anything between 1.80 and 2.99 is in a "grey zone". In line with Altman's result, this work is based on last annual reported results and does not factor any interim updates. According to the research, the Altman score does experience false positives (i.e. classifying the firm as bankrupt when it does not go bankrupt) in approximately 15-20% of cases. more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: -7.6%
Martin Zweig Growth Screen

A Growth at a Reasonable price (GARP) investing strategy that uses both fundamental analysis and market timing. It focuses on strong growth in earnings and sales, a reasonable price-earnings ratio given the company's growth rate, insider support, and relatively strong price action. Martin E. Zweig was a reputed US growth money manager back in the 1990’s as well as an investment newsletter writer. He was named stock picker of the year 2 times in a row and wrote a book titled “Winning on Wall Street”, which outlines his investing strategy. Zweig is essentially a growth investor but with a conservative streak, focusing on selecting growth stocks with certain value characteristics, through a system that uses both fundamental analysis and market timing. more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: -7.9%
Earnings Upgrade Momentum Screen

A momentum screen based on buying stocks with rising analyst earnings estimate revisions in light of empirical findings that stocks with their estimates revised often outperform the market over at least the next 12 months. Although investing on the basis of broker recommendations alone does not appear to be a successful strategy because of the bias in those recommendations, research suggests that focusing on recent changes in broker recommendations is more fruitful, particularly in combination with other signals. You can read more here.  more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -8.1%
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