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Screening Strategies

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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: -1.5%
James Montier 'Unholy Trinity' Screen

James Montier Unholy Trinity is a three point short selling strategy inspired by research by economist and equity strategist James Montier called Joining The Dark Side: Pirates, Spies and Short Sellers The approach uses three risk factors to identify stocks that might be overvalued, financially weak and poorly managed. It uses the price-to-sales ratio to find companies that appear to be overvalued based on their revenues. It looks for signs of low quality by finding stocks that score less than 3 out of 9 on the Piotroski F-Score of financial health. Finally, Montier looks for companies where asset growth could be excessive, based on the theory that management tend to be wasteful allocators of capital. James Montier wrote: "It never ceases to amaze me that whenever a major corporate declines the short sellers are suddenly painted as financial equivalents of psychopaths. This is madness, rather than examining the exceptionally poor (and sometimes criminal) decisions that the corporate itself took, the short sellers are hauled over the coals." Montier found that between 1985 and 2007 a portfolio of Unholy Trinity stocks rebalanced annually would have declined over 6% p.a. compared to a market that was rising at the rate of 13% p.a. in Europe. Short selling shares can be very risky but the Unholy Trinity can still be used as an indicator of which stocks should be avoided. more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: -2.4%
Bold Earnings Revisions Screen

Bold Earnings Revisions is a momentum strategy that aims to spot the hidden signals in analyst forecasts, which has been documented in research and explored further by Jack Hough in his book Your Next Great Stock. Specifically, it captures the 'earnings momentum' in shares where an analyst has recently made a bold upward change to their earnings forecasts. The strategy identifies stocks that have received an earnings forecast upgrade during the past month. It's then possible to scrutinise the list to determine whether the analyst is moving towards the consensus of analysts or away from it. Jack Hough says: "Keep in mind that the size of an estimate revision isn't what makes it bold. Rather, what matters is whether it moves away from the herd." Singling out one just one analyst upgrade won't tell you whether that analyst is moving away from the consensus or towards it. So check the list carefully. more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -2.7%
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: -3.5%
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: -3.8%
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: -4.1%
Benjamin Graham Defensive Investor Screen

Benjamin Graham Defensive Investor is a demanding, deep value 'bargain' investing strategy based on rules suggested by legendary investor, Benjamin Graham, who wrote The Intelligent Investor. The strategy focuses on value stocks with good quality financial characteristics. It uses price-to-earnings as a valuation measure and looks for larger companies with a consistent track record of earnings and dividend growth, manageable debt and a high current ratio. Ben Graham wrote: "An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis, promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative." Defensive Investor is a stricter approach than Ben Graham's enterprising strategy, which look for unpopular companies, special situations and 'bargain' issues. more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -5.6%
Charles Kirkpatrick Bargain Screen

Charles Kirkpatrick Bargain is a rules based strategy inspired by US investment strategist Charles Kirkpatrick's work in his excellent Beat the Market. Kirkpatrick has established strategies for finding growth and value stocks. His bargain strategy concentrates on value and momentum factors, with a very precise requirement for the price to sales ratio. Kirkpatrick's testing of of relative price-to-sales ratio rankings found that it was most effective between the 17th and 42nd percentiles in terms of cheapness. Initial testing of the Bargain Model was promising but Kirkpatrick said that several more years of testing were needed before labeling it a success. Kirkpatrick wrote: "As a result of these studies of relative selection methods, I decided to create a new list, called the 'Bargain List' that would incorporate the best triggers found so far and would only include value and price strength." more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -6.6%
David Dreman High Dividend Screen

David Dreman High Dividends is a contrarian high yield strategy championed by the renowned US fund manager and author David Dreman in his book Contrarian Investment Strategies. Dreman favoured buying out of favour value stocks with straightforward filters for quality. In this version of the screen we filter for higher yielding shares with strong financial positions, as many favourable operating and financial ratios as possible, with above average earnings growth. Dreman explains: "High yielding stocks provide you with the best protection in a bear market. These stocks give the dividend oriented investor more protection of principal on the downside and provide both rising dividend income as well as capital appreciation." Dreman's studies showed that the highest quintile of dividend paying stocks in the market outperformed those with low or no dividends by 4% annually, with half of the returns coming from the dividends themselves. He cautioned that "buying stocks with high dividend yields beats the market, but provides lower total returns than his other contrarian strategies". Dreman runs the firm Dreman Value Management and continues to research and write on contrarian and behavioural investing. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -7.3%
PYAD Screen

PYAD is a value and dividend income strategy devised by UK investor and writer, Stephen Bland. It focuses on finding value stocks with relatively high yields and no debt. PYAD is the acronym for the strategy's four filters, which include the Price to Earnings ratio, Yield, Assets (Price to Book Value) and Debt. Specifically, the strategy looks for companies with a Price to Earnings ratio of two-thirds that of the market and a Yield that is 50% above the market average. Stephen Bland says: "My principal aim in this was firstly to minimise the downside before I considered any trading upside to a share. I knew it wouldn't work in every case, there was bound to be the odd failure, but I reckoned that overall it would perform well. I was right and it did, producing handsome returns over the years." The PYAD strategy became well followed by Motley Fool readers. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -7.6%
Piotroski F-Score Price to Earnings Value Screen

The Piotroski F-Score P/E is a value strategy developed by the renowned finance professor Joseph Piotroski, published in a 2000 research paper titled "Value Investing: The use of historical financial statement information to separate winners from losers". The strategy hunts for the best quality shares amongst a deep value basket. In this version of the screen, the cheapest 20% of the market by their P/E ratio are selected, and filtered further for the highest scoring companies using a nine-point fundamental checklist called the Piotroski F-Score. Piotroski developed the system after observing that: "In that mix of bargain companies, you have some that are just stellar. Their performance turns around. People become optimistic about the stock, and it really takes off. However half of the firms languish; continue to perform poorly and eventually delist or enter bankruptcy." Piotroski's back-tests over 20 years showed that his formula could improve the returns from typical value investing strategies by at least 7.5% annually and is especially effective amongst small caps. Investors should beware the low liquidity shares in this screen can be expensive to trade. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -8.2%
Piotroski F-Score Price to Book Value Screen

The Piotroski F-Score P/B is the classic value strategy by famous finance academic Joseph Piotroski. Originally published in a 2000 research paper titled "Value Investing: The use of historical financial statement information to separate winners from losers", the strategy hunts for the highest quality shares amongst a deep value basket. In this version of the screen, the cheapest 20% of the market by their Price to Book ratio are first selected, and filtered further to find those with the most improving fundamental health trends using the Piotroski F-Score. Piotroski developed the F-Score system after observing that: "In that mix of bargain companies, you have some that are just stellar. Their performance turns around. People become optimistic about the stock, and it really takes off. However half of the firms languish; continue to perform poorly and eventually delist or enter bankruptcy." Piotroski's back-tests over 20 years showed that his formula could improve the returns from typical value investing strategies by at least 7.5% annually and is especially effective amongst small caps. Investors should beware the low liquidity shares in this screen can be expensive to trade. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -8.3%
R&D Breakthroughs Screen

R&D Breakthroughs is a quality investing strategy inspired by a screen devised by US journalist Jack Hough, in his book, Your Next Great Stock. It is partly based on research by Louis Chan, Josef Lakonishok and Theodore Sougiannis in paper called The Stock Market Valuation of Research and Development Expenditures. The strategy filters a value screen with quality factors related to how much a company is investing in its future development. It uses the price-to-research ratio to find value and compares R&D investment in relation to growth, sales and assets. The strategy 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. Louis Chan wrote: "The clearest evidence that high R&D plays a distinctive role arises from stocks with high R&D relative to the market value of equity. Their average return over the following three years is 6.12% per year." more »

Quality Investing
6 Month Return: -10.0%
James Montier 'Cooking the Books' Screen

James Montier Cooking the Books is a short selling strategy based on research by economist and equity strategist James Montier. It uses Low Quality criteria to identify stocks that could be at risk of bad accounting practice. The 6-point C-Score checklist looks at the divergence between net income and cash-flow, increasing days sales outstanding, increasing days sales of inventory, increasing current assets to revenues, declining depreciation relative to property, plant and equipment and high total asset growth. Montier found that the C-Score was even more effective when used to assess stocks that look over-valued on a price-to-sales ratio basis. James Montier wrote: "In good times, few focus on such 'mundane' issues as earnings quality and footnotes. However, this lack of attention to 'detail' tends to come back and bite investors in the arse during bad times." Montier found that stocks with a C-score of 5 and a price-to-sales ratio of greater than 2 tend to generate a negative absolute return of 4% per year. Short selling shares can be very risky but the C-Score can still be used as an indicator of which stocks should be avoided. more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: -11.0%
Trading below Cash Screen

James Altucher Trading Below Cash is a bargain investing strategy loosely based on an approach described by US investor and writer James Altucher in his book, Trade Like Warren Buffett. This is a deep value strategy that Altucher found was highly effective in periods of market distress. He acknowledged that stocks that are priced at less than the value of their cash present a challenge to investors. It is difficult to get an accurate view of how much cash is actually in a business, plus they may have broken business models or dis-incentivised management. The strategy looks for stocks with a market cap below cash, low debt, sufficient cash to cover the annual burn-rate and some stability in revenues and earnings. Altucher wrote: "There is always the danger that management doesn't care about the shareholders but instead enjoys sitting on the assets of the company and using it for their personal benefit. Diversification is the tool that we can use to reduce the risk of corrupt, or at best, uncaring, management.? more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -11.1%
Earnings Downgrade Momentum Screen

Earnings Forecast Downgrades is a short selling and red flag strategy identified in a research paper by academics Philipp McKnight and Steven Todd, called Analyst Forecasts and the Cross Section of European Stock Returns. It looks for stocks experiencing earnings forecast downgrades by analysts as a potential trigger of negative momentum. They found that the positive returns from an earnings upgrade portfolio were large and persistent, whereas the sell portfolio generated a near zero return because bad news was quickly 'priced-in'. While the strategy on its own may be difficult to profit from, it still highlights stocks that should perhaps be avoided, or warrant careful additional research. McKnight and Todd wrote: "We find differences in the return continuation patterns of stocks with upward versus downward revisions, namely, bad news travels quickly, but good news travels slowly." more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: -11.6%
Geraldine Weiss Lite Dividend Screen

Geraldine Weiss Dividends is an income investing strategy based on some of the rules used by US investor Geraldine Weiss. The approach targets large capitalisation companies with relatively high yields, and uses the dividend yield as a measure of value together with quality factors. It buys stocks when their yields are close to their historical highs and then sells them when the yields drift lower. Weiss is reported to use 7 core criteria in her strategy, including a comparison of a stock's historic average yield with its current yield. Weiss said: "Dividends provide a cushion of safety when a stock starts going down. When the stock price drops, the yield gets to very attractive levels, so many investors will step in and buy, reversing the trend of the stock." Weiss has been writing the Investment Quality Trends newsletter since 1966. In January 2000, it began publishing a list of its top 13 picks for the upcoming year. Dubbed "The Lucky 13", these selections have generated a claimed average total annual gain of 15.18%. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -11.7%
Benjamin Graham NCAV Bargain Screen

Benjamin Graham NCAV Bargain is a deep value 'bargain' investing strategy based on rules suggested by legendary investor, Benjamin Graham, who wrote The Intelligent Investor. This is a simple value approach that looks for companies with a market capitalisation that is less than their net current asset value. NCAV is the calculation of current assets minus current liabilities. Ben Graham wrote: "You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right." In a study by Henry Oppenhemier in the Financial Analysts Journal, the mean return from discounted net current asset stocks over a 13-year period was 29.4% per year versus 11.5% per year for the NYSE-AMEX Index. Ben Graham advocated buying stocks that, if they were to collapse tomorrow, should still produce a positive return because of the underlying asset backing. To reduce exposure to individual failures, he also looked for a margin of safety of about 33% and suggested diversifying between at least 30 stocks. more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -11.9%
James O'Shaugnessy's Cornerstone Value

James O'Shaughnessy Cornerstone Value is a value investing strategy presented by US fund manager James O'Shaughnessy in his 1996 book, What Works on Wall Street. His extensive backtesting found that value investing works particularly well with large capitalisation stocks with above average sales and cashflow, high levels of share liquidity, which were then sorted for the highest dividend yield. O'Shaughnessy said: "Generally speaking, when things are going against you, as they inevitably will, you have to stick to the underlying strategy? Only by doing so will you be around for when it comes rebounding back." He found that this value strategy produced an annual compound return of 15% between 1954 and 1996, compared to 8.3% for the S&P 500 index. O'Shaughnessy has continued to conduct detailed analysis of Standard & Poor's Compustat database to identify the most effective investing strategies. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -12.5%
Dividend Dogs

Dividend Dogs of the FTSE is a high yield income strategy based on an approach devised by US investor Michael O'Higgins in his book 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 current, or historic, dividend 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: -14.4%
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