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Screening Strategies

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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: 8.9%
52 Week High Momentum Screen

An investing screen based on buying stocks that are close to their 52 week high (and/or selling stocks that are close to their 52 week lows). Similar to other forms of momentum investing, this seems to work because investors tend to under-react to positive (or negative) information about those kinds of stocks. Researchers surmise that investors use the 52- week high as an “anchor” against which they value stocks, thus they tend to be reluctant to buy a stock as it nears this point regardless of new positive information. As a result, investors underreact when stock prices approach the 52-week high, and consequently, contrary to most investors' expectations, stocks near their 52-week highs tend to be systematically undervalued.  Finally, when information prevails and the 52 week high is broken, the market “wakes up” and prices see excess gains.   You can read more here. more »

Momentum Investing
6 Month Return: 8.5%
Dreman Low Price to Cash Flow Screen

David Dreman 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." more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: 8.4%
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: 8.2%
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: 8.1%
Charles Kirkpatrick Value Screen

Kirkpatrick’s Value Screen combines quantitative filters for relative price strength and relative reported earnings growth, with a value criterion - using relative price-to-sales percentiles, Kirkpatrick arbitrarily selected only those stocks in the 30th percentile or lower. Despite the success of his Growth Model, Kirkpatrick was concerned about the fact that its performance had occurred during one of the strongest bull markets in history. He wanted to strengthen the system against capital loss to protect against the inevitable market reversal. He believed relative price strength would not be effective during a market downturn and could lead to significant capital losses. For Kirkpatrick, the alternative was to reduce the risk of the portfolio by beginning with a group of stocks with low valuations. Kirkpatrick also looks for growth companies with market capitalizations of at least $500 million and share prices of at least $10. You can read more here. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: 8.0%
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: 7.6%
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: 6.4%
Jim Slater ZULU Principle Screen

The Zulu Principle is an investment strategy made famous by Jim Slater in the book of the same name. It is a GARP investing style which uses a combination of growth and value, looking for shares where brokers are forecasting high earnings growth, but which are currently valued at a price that is low relative to their forecast earnings. The strategy aims to capture growth companies at a reasonable price by using the PEG Ratio. Slater uses forecast earnings to calculate both PER and the EPS Growth Rate. As Slater puts it: "I have always been attracted to growth shares, particularly those that can be purchased at what I perceive to be a discount to their proper value”.  more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: 5.6%
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: 4.8%
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: 4.8%
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: 4.8%
Neglected Firms Screen

This screen involves seeking out stocks that are covered by few, if any, financial analysts and attempting to discover sources of value that may have been overlooked by other investors. Neglected firms tend to be small, low-profile companies that have not received much media attention. Areas of the market that attract media attention, public interest or sophisticated institutional followings are more likely to be properly priced than areas that are off the beaten track. more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: 2.4%
Free Cash Flow Cows Screen

This screen is inspired by a similar screen devised and backtested here by the Old School Value blog for the US market. It looks for stable, cash rich companies growing their FCF, yet selling at a cheap multiple to FCF. Free cash flow is defined as cash from operations minus capital expenditure. The idea is that FCF is the ultimate driver of intrinsic value - the more FCF a company can generate and reduce debt, the higher the intrinsic value of the company becomes. more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: 1.4%
Peter Lynch Growth Screen

This is a 'fast growers' screen which looks for consistently profitable, relatively unknown, low-debt, reasonably priced stocks with high, but not excessive, growth. Mr. Lynch developed his investment philosophy at Fidelity, and gained his considerable fame managing Fidelity's Magellan Fund. His selection approach is strictly a bottom-up "buy what you know" one. He suggested focusing on companies familiar to the investor, applying fundamental analysis which emphasizes a thorough understanding of the company, its prospects, its competitive environment, and whether the stock can be purchased at a reasonable price.  It’s frankly impossible to come up with a screen that exactly replicates Lynch’s multi-faceted investing strategy. Nevertheless, the following approach seeks to emulate some of the key elements of his search for “fast growers”. You can read more here. more »

Growth Investing
6 Month Return: 1.3%
Benjamin Graham Net Nets Screen

This strategy is one of Ben Graham's most famous bargain stock strategies aiming to find stocks trading for less than their liquidation value.  The idea is to find stocks  trading at such a cheap price that you could buy the whole company and sell off all the assets at a profit with near minimal risk.    It is a simplistic screen which just looks for stocks where the market cap is less than the so called 'Net Net Working Capital'  (defined as  Cash and short-term investments + (75% of accounts receivable) + (50% of inventory) - All Liabilities).  The formula is very conservative in estimating the value of inventory and receivables due to the likelihood that not all will be collectible in a firesale. About such stocks Graham wrote: ‘ No proprietor or majority holder would think of selling what he owned at so ridiculously low a figure…In various ways practically all these bargain issues turned out to be profitable and the average annual result proved much more remunerative than most other investments’. This is not a strategy for the faint-hearted due to the high risk companies that qualify. 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: 1.1%
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: 0.1%
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: -0.9%
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: -1.2%
David Dreman High Dividend Screen

David Dreman 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."   more »

Value Investing
6 Month Return: -3.9%
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