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Screening Strategies

UK Data
67 strategies sorted by
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: -3.7%
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: -3.9%
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: -6.5%
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: -9.6%
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: -11.7%
Negative Enterprise Value Screen

Some companies trade so cheaply that their cash balance is worth more than the company's enterprise value (i.e. the sum of the market cap and total long term debts).  This is known as a negative enterprise value (EV) and searching for such companies is a common bargain stock strategy. While, in theory, a negative EV may seem to be an easy arbitrage opportunity, whereby one could buy all of the debt and equity in a firm and use its cash balance to cover costs and keep the difference, there are a number of reasons to be cautious: Firstly, the enterprise value may not have captured all of the debt outstanding in the firm (e.g. the present value of lease commitments) and secondly the cash balance is from the balance sheet (rather than stated at the today's date used for the market cap). Given how quickly firms burn through cash, what you see on the balance sheet may not reflect what the firm has as of today as a cash balance so be careful! You can read more here. more »

Bargain Stocks
6 Month Return: -13.9%
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: -17.0%
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