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Screening Strategies

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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
5 Year Return: 37.3%
Dividend Achievers Screen

Dividend Achievers is an income strategy inspired by an index run by Nasdaq OMX. It looks for companies that have grown their cash dividend payouts for at least the past five consecutive years. Apart from the dividend growth streak, this strategy looks for companies with reasonable share trading liquidity, strong cash reserves, a solid balance sheet and a proven record of consistent earnings growth. In his book Beating the Street, investing legend Peter Lynch, said: "The dividend is such an important factor in the success of many stocks that you could hardly go wrong by making an entire portfolio of companies that have raised their dividends for 10 to 20 years in a row." According to M&G Investments, the total cumulative return from the S&P 500 in the 10 years to 2011, with dividends reinvested, was 32%. But the return soared to 136% by investing solely in US companies that had grown their dividends for at least 25 consecutive years. more »

Income Investing
5 Year Return: 36.2%
Warren Buffett - Hagstrom Screen

Warren Buffett - Hagstrom is a quality investing strategy inspired by modelling of Warren Buffett's investment approach in books by investment strategist Robert Hagstrom, including The Warren Buffett Way. It is a strategy that combines Buffett's focus on value and business quality. It uses price-to-free cash flow as a valuation measure and assesses quality using operating profit and return on equity. In his book, Robert Hagstrom explains: "Your goal as an investor should be simply to purchase, at a rational price, a part interest in an easily understood business whose earnings are virtually certain to be materially higher, five, ten, and twenty years from now." Remember, Buffett is famous for looking beyond financial measures when examining the quality of a business franchise. more »

Quality Investing
5 Year Return: 36.0%
Winning Growth & Income

Winning Growth & Income is a dividend investing strategy inspired by an approach used by American investment analyst Kevin Matras in his book, Finding #1 Stocks. It combines growth and dividend factors by sorting the market for high yielding companies with strong growth characteristics. Apart from a high yield, this strategy looks for companies with an above average return on equity, a below average price-to-earnings ratio and where analysts have been upgrading their earnings forecasts. It also looks for companies with a low beta (the sensitivity of a share price to the movement of the market). Kevin Matras says the screen works for investors that are "looking for good companies with solid revenues that pay a good dividend". In some respects, this strategy is a small cap version of the Large Cap Dividend Attraction strategy. In Matra's original strategy criteria he uses Zacks Rank, which is a metric for analysing analyst forecasts. more »

Income Investing
5 Year Return: 36.0%
Earnings Upgrade Momentum Screen

Earnings Forecast Upgrades is a momentum strategy set out by US academics Phillip McKnight and Steven Todd in research that examined how analyst forecasts affect share prices. It focuses on finding momentum stocks by highlighting those that are receiving the highest levels of upgraded earnings forecasts from analysts. It looks at both the number of analysts that have raised their forecasts on a share over the past month, and the overall percentage earnings-per-share increase among the consensus of analysts. McKnight and Todd claimed: "Stocks with the greatest number of upwards revisions in earnings, net of downward revisions, earn significantly higher returns than otherwise similar stocks." The researchers examined a portfolio of European shares and found that the 20% with the highest net upward revisions outperformed the lowest 20% by over 16% a year. Earnings upgrades are one way of finding stocks with 'earnings momentum'; those that have received upward earnings revisions are likely to do so again in the future. more »

Momentum Investing
5 Year Return: 32.7%
James O'Shaugnessy Cornerstone Growth

James O'Shaughnessy Cornerstone Growth is a growth investing strategy devised by US fund manager James O'Shaughnessy in his 1996 book, What Works on Wall Street. It combines value, momentum and growth factors, using the price-to-sales ratio, price momentum and earnings growth as its main rules. O'Shaughnessy wrote: "Marrying good value characteristics with price momentum is an excellent way to find 'cheap stocks on the mend'." He found that this strategy produced an annual compound return of 17% between 1963 and 2009. In 2012, O'Shaugnessy updated the strategy rules by replacing price-to-sales as the key value metric with 6 composited value factors. more »

Growth Investing
5 Year Return: 32.5%
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
5 Year Return: 30.6%
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
5 Year Return: 30.1%
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
5 Year Return: 29.2%
The Screen of Screens

The Screen of Screens is a blended investment approach devised by Stockopedia. It picks stocks that are appearing most frequently across all the 'Guru Screens' tracked by Stockopedia - be they quality, value, momentum, growth or income (excluding short-selling strategies). A stock must be appearing on at least four strategies before it can qualify for the Screen of Screens. Ed Page Croft, CEO of Stockopedia, says: ?One benefit of a blended approach such as the Screen of Screens is that it builds a portfolio exposed to many driving factors of stock returns at once.? By definition, this strategy tends to highlight a list of relatively defensive stocks because they exhibit good fundamentals across a wide range of investing disciplines. The strategy was highlighted in an Financial Times feature by David Stevenson titled: "Stock screens to net the ones that get away". In it he said: "You need to use a website or system that can run the screens for you, and then identify the stocks that come up most often in each of them, which is exactly what Stockopedia has done." more »

Quality Investing
5 Year Return: 26.5%
Benjamin Graham Net Nets Screen

Benjamin Graham Net Nets Bargain is a demanding deep value 'bargain' investing strategy based on rules suggested by legendary investor, Benjamin Graham, who wrote The Intelligent Investor. This value approach looks for stocks that are 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 does that by finding shares with a market capitalisation of less than net net working capital. The calculation makes allowances for the fact that in a fire sale of assets, only a proportion of owed cash and inventory value would be recovered. Ben Graham explained: "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." Remember, risky and potentially troubled companies will be found using the Net Net rules. Ben Graham suggested diversifying between at least 30 stocks. more »

Bargain Stocks
5 Year Return: 25.8%
Greenblatt's Magic Formula

The Magic Formula is a value investing strategy invented by the hedge fund manager Joel Greenblatt in the bestselling and highly recommended Little Book that Beats the Market. It focuses on finding quality value stocks using a blended ranking system (the Magic Formula rank) composed from two fundamental ratios: Return on Capital (which Greenblatt argues is the best determinant of whether a business is a good one) and Earnings Yield (his favoured measure for cheapness). He summarised his philosophy with the maxim "buying cheap stocks at bargain prices is the secret to making lots of money". In the fourth edition of his book Greenblatt claimed the top scoring portfolio of 30 stocks appreciated by 30.8% each year over the previous 17 years, though he stressed that the strategy could underperform during periods of up to two years. Having now sold hundreds of thousands of copies, the "Magic Formula" is credited for reinvigorating the practice of value investing. more »

Quality Investing
5 Year Return: 24.0%
52 Week High Momentum Screen

52 Week High Momentum is momentum strategy that was explored in a paper called The 52-Week High and Momentum Investing by academics Thomas George and Chuan-Yang Hwang. It capitalises on the positive momentum effect which appears to cause stocks that are at, or close to, their 52 week high prices continuing to outperform. It is believed to work because investors tend to under-react to positive news about previously successful stocks and are reluctant to bid their prices higher, even if the positive news warrants it. When the full impact of the information prevails, and the 52 week high is broken, the market "wakes up" and prices see further gains. George and Hwang wrote: "Our results indicate that the 52-week measure has predictive power whether or not individual stocks have had extreme past returns. This suggests that price level is important, and is consistent with an anchor-and-adjust bias." The original research found that, between 1963 - 2001, the average monthly gain to this strategy assuming a 6 month hold was 0.45% - "about twice as large as those associated with other momentum strategies". more »

Momentum Investing
5 Year Return: 23.5%
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
5 Year Return: 22.4%
Martin Zweig Growth Screen

Martin Zweig Growth is a growth at a reasonable price investing strategy based on an approach explained by US investor Martin Zweig in his book, Winning on Wall Street. It combines a focus on growth characteristics, value attraction and market timing. It uses various measures of earnings and sales growth and uses the price-to-earnings ratio as a valuation tool. Zweig's strategy also looks for relatively strong price action. Zweig wrote: "I've found that investors who rely on crystal balls frequently wind up with crushed glass. I'm satisfied if I can predict a market trend, get in tune with it and stay with that trend for as long as it lasts." Zweig was a reputed US money manager back during 1990s as well as an investment newsletter writer. During the 15 years that it was monitored (1980 - 1995), his newsletter returned an average of 15.9% per year. more »

Growth Investing
5 Year Return: 20.3%
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
5 Year Return: 17.6%
Piotroski High F-Score Screen

The Piotroski F-Score Screen is a quality strategy outlined by the famed academic Professor Joseph Piotroski and investigated further in a 2011 paper titled "Identifying expectation errors in Value/Glamour stocks". The strategy hunts for the best quality shares in the market regardless of price. In this version of the screen we have selected the highest scoring stocks in the market using Piotroski's nine-point fundamental checklist called the F-Score. While the F-Score was originally used only for filtering value stocks, Piotroski discovered it was just as effective for filtering glamour stocks: "Firms experiencing the strongest improvement in fundamentals (FSCORE ?7) generate a mean size-adjusted return of 5.5 percent annually". What Piotroski essentially was saying was that the highest scoring stocks returned 5.5% more than the market - these findings have been backed up by independent research by Societe Generale. Perhaps as a result the F-Score has become extremely popular with investors and is a core component of the Stockopedia StockReports. more »

Quality Investing
5 Year Return: 17.1%
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
5 Year Return: 15.5%
John Templeton Bargain Screen

John Templeton Value is a value investing strategy based on the rules used by US investor Sir John Templeton. It combines value and growth factors to identify stocks trading at cheap prices but with a positive long-term outlook. The value components include the price-to-book and price-to-earnings ratios, while the growth rules focus on strong earnings and margins, and low debt. Sir John wrote: "Bull markets are born on pessimism, grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell." His Templeton Growth Fund delivered a 13.8% annualised return from 1954 to 2004, versus 11.1% by the S&P 500 over the same period. Sir John also put a great deal of importance on qualitative factors, such as quality products, cost controls, and the intelligent use of earnings by management. more »

Value Investing
5 Year Return: 10.7%
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
5 Year Return: 9.4%
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