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Screening Strategies

UK Data
67 strategies sorted by
T Rowe Price Screen

A GARP investing approach based on identifying companies with long-term prospects in their early stages before they become "glamour" stocks. Price looked for these characteristics in growth companies: At least a 10% return on invested capital Sustained high profit margins Superior growth of earnings per share. He also looked for: Superior research to develop products and markets. A lack of cutthroat competition. A comparative immunity from government regulation. Low total labor costs, but well-paid employees. more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: -7.9%
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: -8.3%
Buffettology-esque Historical 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 Historical Growth method to calculate the "expected return". more »

Quality Investing
6 Month Return: -9.0%
Large Cap Dividend Attraction Screen

This is a large-cap dividend focused screen, loosely based on the "Dividend Attraction" screen discussed by Kevin Matras in his useful book, "Finding Number 1 Stocks". It focuses on the added dividend security to be found amongst larger-cap stocks in a credit-constrained environment. In Matras' version, however, the primary filter is the Zacks Rank (a proprietary metric analysing analyst forecasts for i) Agreement, ii) Magnitude, iii) Upside Potential, Surprise). However, this version just uses the 3 month change in analyst forecasts instead. The other elements are: i) A market capitalisation above £1.5 bn, ii) Positive 5 Year Dividend growth, iii) Above Average Return on Equity, iv) Above Average EPS Growth and v) Price to Operating Cashflow. more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -11.6%
PYAD Screen

A combined value and income investing screen inspired by the writings of Stephen Bland on TMF (he also writes the Dividend Letter newsletter for MoneyWeek). It that starts by looking for: "P", i.e. a maximum Price to Earnings ratio of two-thirds that of the market (preferably much, much lower). It then looks for "Yield" preferably 50% above the market (although this is the most flexible criterion). "A" is for "Assets" as the screen looks for a Price to Book Value (P/BV) of under 1.  Finally, no Debt is the last criterion, preferably with stacks of net cash.  more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -11.7%
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: -11.8%
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: -12.7%
Piotroski F-Score Price to Earnings Value Screen

The Piotroski F-Score screen aims to identify deep bargain-bucket stocks that are in recovery.  Josef Piotroski, a finance professor, recognized that, while it has long been shown that bargain stocks have strong collective returns, there is very wide individual variability. What he wondered was whether it was possible to weed out the poor performers and identify the winners in advance. He therefore sought to develop a simple accounting-based scoring system for evaluating a stock’s financial strength. Piotroski's F-Score looks at value stocks and tests nine variables from a company’s financial statements. One point is awarded for each test that a stock passes. Piotroski regards any stocks that scored eight or nine points as being the strongest. In this version of the screen, Price to Earnings, rather than Price to Book, is used as the measure of "cheapness".  more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -13.7%
Dreman Low Price to Book Screen

This is a low Price to Book based on the writings of David Dreman. He champions a contrarian investment approach based on interpreting market psychology and using value measures to pick stocks that are out of favour with the market. Dreman invests in out-of-favour stocks, often in out-of-favour industries, that he identifies using relatively straightforward metric criteria. "I buy stocks when they are battered. I am strict with my discipline. I always buy stocks with low price-earnings ratios, low price-to-book value ratios and higher-than-average yield. Academic studies have shown that a strategy of buying out-of-favor stocks with low P/E, price-to-book and price-to-cash flow ratios outperforms the market pretty consistently over long periods of time." Dreman warns that the Price to Book strategy in particular may lead to investing in loss-making stocks, at which one needs to be especially careful, and double-checking a company's financial strength is especially important. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -14.9%
Charles Kirkpatrick Bargain Screen

Kirkpatrick’s Bargain Screen combines the best triggers found in his testing of relative value, relative reported earnings growth. Kirkpatrick's testing of relative price-to-sales ratio percentile rankings indicated optimal performance in percentiles greater than 17 but not higher than the 42nd percentile. For relative strength, he found that setting the bar at the 90th percentile resulted in too many passing companies to manage in a portfolio. To reduce the number of passing companies to just 20, Kirkpatrick upped the requirement to only include companies in the 97th percentile or higher. Initial testing of the Bargain Model was promising but Kirkpatrick conceded that several more years of testing were needed before labeling it a successful stock selection methodology. You can read more here. more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -15.1%
Geraldine Weiss Lite Dividend Screen

A blue-chip focused screen focused on buying blue-chip stocks whose dividend yields are near the high of their historical ranges and selling when the dividend yield declines to historic lows. Geraldine Weiss was the founding editor of Investment Quality Trends - one of the longest-lived investment newsletters.  According to a 2002 Forbes article,  she has seven criteria in total (but the last criteria comprises a further six "blue-chips only" conditions). A stock: 1. Must be undervalued as measured by its dividend yield on a historical basis. 2. Must be a growth stock that has raised dividends at a compound annual rate of at least 10% over the past 12 years. 3. Is selling for two times book value or less. 4. Has a P/E ratio of 20-to-1 or below. 5. Has a dividend payout ratio in the 50% area (or less) to ensure dividend safety with room for growth. 6. Debt is 50% or less of total capitalization. 7. Meets all six of our Blue Chip Criteria: dividend raised five times in the last 12 years, carries an A rating from S&P, has at least 5 million shares outstanding, at least 80 institutional investors hold the stock, 25 uninterrupted years of dividends and earnings improvements in seven of the last 12 years. While it’s difficult to replicate this screen exactly for the UK market, we’ve produced a Geraldine Weiss-lite version along similar lines.  more »

Income Investing
6 Month Return: -15.4%
Trading below Cash Screen

This screen is loosely based on the "Cash Index" approach outlined by James Altucher in his book, "Trade Like Warren Buffett". He suggests a multi-pronged approach to analysing potential bargain/arbitrage stocks in times of market distress (post 2001 bubble / Iraq War). First of all, he suggests that it's important to recognise that these stocks are likely to be trading for less than cash for a reason, namely the mar­ket thinks they will eventually declare bankruptcy. Some of the possible risks include: i) Inaccurate reflection of "cash on hand" in their books (leases, severance packages, etc), ii) Business model destined to fail, iii) Management with no incentive to return value to shareholders. To minimise risk of buying a turkey, Altucher looks for eight factors: i) Market cap below cash, ii) Very low leverage, iii) Enough cash headroom to cover the current annual burn-rate, and iv) some stability in revenues and earnings. In addition to these easily-screenable criteria, he suggested looking out for more qualitative factors: v) A reasonable belief that the sell-off in the stock was partly irrational, vi) Favorable arbitrage analysis - , i) Insider buying and viii) Institutional ownership.  more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -15.5%
James Montier 'Cooking the Books' Screen

James Montier (former Soc Gen global equity strategist) aimed to create a simple scoring system that would highlight companies that may be 'cooking the books'. The C-Score was the result. It measures six inputs including 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 PPE and high total asset growth. Montier found that companies with high C-Scores under performed the market by 8% per annum, generating a mere 1.8% return between 1993 and 2007. He recommended using it in tandem with a high valuation measure. A C Score = 5 used in tandem with a Price/Sales Ratio > 2 generated a negative absolute return of 4% p.a. in the US. For a full review of the C Score please click here. more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: -16.4%
James Montier 'Unholy Trinity' Screen

This is a three point short selling screen based on the approach outlined by James Montier in 2008 to identify potential candidates in weak markets.   1. High Valuation (Price to Sales Ratio > 1) - Calling the Price to Sales ratio 'insane' as a valuation measure due to its lack of focus on profitability,  Montier first screened for companies trading at a multiple of at least 4 times sales. 2. Weak Fundamentals  (F Score < 4) -  With the valuation side covered, he then qualified this list by screening for the financially weak companies having a Piotroski F Score of 3 or less.  3. Poor Capital Discipline (Asset Growth > 10%) -  But unsatisfied with only focusing on high valuation and weak fundamentals, Montier also showed that company executives were often wasteful capital allocators; research showing that companies with low asset growth rates highly outperform companies with high asset growth rates by 13% annually.  more »

Short Selling
6 Month Return: -16.7%
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: -16.9%
Earnings Surprise Screen

When companies report earnings significantly higher than analyst's earnings estimates the result is known as an 'earning's suprise'.  While earnings surprises often create spikes in the share price on the day of the announcement, they have also been observed to trigger longer term increases in the share price.  This effect is known as the  "Post Earnings Announcement Drift" and can last for several weeks or even months after the announcement date.  The effect is generally attributed to the fact that analysts are slow to revise their forecasts and the market does not fully react to the information about future growth conveyed by the earnings surprises.  The idea behind the strategy is to buy stocks that report earnings surprises and hold them over this time period. Positive surprises often happen at the beginning of a turnaround, or a new growth cycle where sales start to accelerate beyond the historical rates, “surprising” the analyst community.  You can read more here. more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: -17.5%
Piotroski F-Score Price to Book Value Screen

The Piotroski F-Score screen aims to identify deep bargain-bucket stocks that are in recovery.  Josef Piotroski, a finance professor, recognized that, while it has long been shown that bargain stocks (having a low Price to Book Value) have strong collective returns, there is very wide individual variability. “Embedded in that mix of companies, you have some that are just stellar. Their performance turns around [but] half of the firms languish; they continue to perform poorly and eventually de-list or enter bankruptcy.” What he wondered was whether it was possible to weed out the poor performers and identify the winners in advance. He therefore sought to develop a simple accounting-based scoring system for evaluating a stock’s financial strength. Piotroski's F-Score looks at value stocks, i.e. the bottom 20% of the market in terms of price to book value, and tests nine variables from a company’s financial statements. One point is awarded for each test that a stock passes. Piotroski regards any stocks that scored eight or nine points as being the strongest. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -18.4%
Greenblatt's Magic Formula

This screen implements the Magic Formula value investing strategy pioneered by hedge fund manager, Joel Greenblatt. It is based on buying 20-30 "good, cheap companies" defined as having the best available combined MFI ranking in terms of Earnings Yield and a Return on Capital.  Greenblatt argues that return on capital is the best determinant of whether a business is a good one or not (companies that can earn a high ROC over time generally have a special advantage that keeps competition from destroying it, such as a unique business model). Earnings yield is his metric for 'cheapness'. Greenblatt believes that stock prices of a firm can experience “wild” swings even as the value of the company stays relatively constant giving investors opportunities to buy low and sell high. more »

Quality Investing
6 Month Return: -18.8%
Benjamin Graham NCAV Bargain Screen

This is a deep value screen based on Ben Graham's writings. It is a simplistic screen which just looks for stocks where the market cap is less than net current asset value. It is not to be confused with his more involved Enterprising Investor and Defensive Investor criteria which have been modelled separately. As a reminder, NCAV = Current Assets - Total Liabilities. That's a stringent requirement, since most companies have negative NCAVs but Graham was looking for firms trading so cheap that there was little danger of falling further. In addition, Graham would have requested a margin of safety of at least 33%, so his P/NCAV threshold would have been 0.66. Graham argued such companies were typically priced at significant discounts to the likely value that stockholders could receive in an actual sale or liquidation of the entire corporation. Because of the kind of unloved/troubled companies it generates, this is not a strategy for the faint-hearted. Graham sought safety from individual bankruptcy risk by diversifying his portfolio with a large numbers of companies – he suggested 30.   more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -19.1%
Walter Schloss 'New Lows' Screen

A value investing screen based on Walter Schloss's dedicated focus on stocks that are hitting new lows and those trading at a price lower than their Book Value per Share.  Schloss summarized his own approach as being: “We want to buy cheap stocks based on a small premium over book value, usually a depressed market price, a record that goes back at least 20 years…and one that doesn’t have much debt. You can read more here. more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -21.1%
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