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Screening Strategies

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Richard Driehaus Screen

Richard Driehaus Momentum is a momentum investing strategy inspired by an approach used by US investor Richard Driehaus. It combines a focus on price and earnings momentum in small and mid-cap companies with strong, sustained earnings growth. Importantly, Driehaus wanted to find companies that had produced significant earnings surprises over the previous year by beating analyst forecasts. Driehaus said: "I would much rather invest in a stock that's increasing in price and take the risk that it may begin to decline than invest in a stock that's already in a decline and try to guess when it will turn around." Driehaus's fund management firm Driehaus Capital Management was reported to have delivered compound annual returns of 30% during the 12 years after it was started in 1980. Driehaus was named in Barron's "All-Century" team of the 25 most influential and powerful mutual fund managers in 2000. more »

Momentum Investing
5 Year Return: 9.7%
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
5 Year Return: 8.4%
T Rowe Price Screen

Thomas Rowe Price Jr Growth is a growth-at-a-reasonable-price investing strategy based on the approach of US fund manager Thomas Rowe Price, Jr. It combines growth and value rules, with a focus on improving earnings, margins and positive cashflow together with a reasonable price-to-earnings ratio. Rowe Price said: "A forward-looking investor must be able to reasonably assess and evaluate the currents and the tides and be prepared to reckon with winds or storms, which are unpredictable." A screen based on these rules tracked by the American Association of Individual Investors returned 22.6% in the five years to 2015. Rowe Price founded his own investment firm T.Rowe Price Associates in 1937, which today manages in excess of $730bn of assets. more »

Growth Investing
5 Year Return: 8.0%
Altman Z-Score Screen

The Altman Z-Score is a checklist for identifying stocks that might be at risk of bankruptcy. It was created by US finance Professor Edward Altman and detailed in a book he co-authored, called Managing Credit Risk. The Z-Score is a red flag indicator that can be used as a short selling strategy. It analyses five weighted business ratios to estimate the likelihood of financial distress. Broadly, these checks examine a company's asset, strength, profitability, solvency, efficiency and ability to generate earnings. Altman wrote: "The detection of company operating and financial difficulties is a subject which has been particularly amenable to analysis with financial ratios." Tests over 31 years to 1999 found the Z-Score to be 80-90% accurate in predicting bankruptcy one year prior to the event. The Z-Score is one of the components used in another short selling strategy: James Montier Trinity of Risk. more »

Short Selling
5 Year Return: 6.9%
Muhlenkamp's ROE Screen

Ronald Muhlenkamp Return on Equity is a quality investing strategy based on an approach used by US fund manager Ronald Muhlenkamp. It combines quality and value factors by looking for companies with a high return on equity (ROE) at a reasonable price. ROE is a measure of how much profit a company earns compared to the amount of shareholder equity on its balance sheet. Muhlenkamp compares ROE with other growth measures to find stocks that are likely to be highly cash generative. He said: "You want to be sure that the companies you own can survive whatever the heck happens." Muhlenkamp's methods were analysed by Ludwig B Chincarini and Daehwan Kim in Quantitative Equity Portfolio Management. They found that the Muhlenkamp fund averaged an 18.38% annual rate of return for the 19 years to 2004, versus 12.07% for the S&P 500. more »

Quality Investing
5 Year Return: 5.9%
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
5 Year Return: 2.8%
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: 1.6%
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
5 Year Return: 1.0%
Kenneth Fisher Price to Sales Screen

Kenneth Fisher Value is a value investing strategy based on the approach of US investor Kenneth Fisher, who wrote Super Stocks. The strategy aims to find value stocks but also considers some of the growth factors that were suggested by Ken Fisher's father, Philip Fisher. It looks specifically for stocks that appear undervalued based on the price-to-sales ratio. It also looks for low gearing, a history of earning growth, strong net margins and positive free cash flow. Ken Fisher wrote: "Very few investors have a rational basis for valuing growth stocks in the face of a lack of earnings. The stock loses supporters and falls, in time, much too far. The best managements react to difficulties and overcome them. In time, sales pick up. Later, profits begin to pick up. Simultaneously with the profit resurgence, the stock price begins to rebound." Latterly, Ken Fisher has suggested that the price-to-sales ratio has become less effective for identifying undervalued shares, however it continues to be widely used by investors. more »

Value Investing
5 Year Return: 0.3%
Benjamin Graham Deep Value Checklist

Benjamin Graham Deep Value Checklist is a value investing strategy based on rules suggested by legendary investor, Benjamin Graham, who wrote The Intelligent Investor. The strategy focuses on building portfolios of both large and small value stocks. It involves a 10-point checklist of valuation ratios and financial measures. Ben Graham regarded the most important of those measures to be earnings yield, dividend yield and for total debt to be less than book value. Ben Graham wrote: "Try to buy groups of stocks that meet some simple criterion for being undervalued - regardless of the industry and with very little attention to the individual company. It seems too good to be true, but all I can tell you after 60 years of experience, it seems to stand up under any of the tests I would make up." Societe Generale backtested the strategy to 1992 and found that the group of stocks scoring 9 and 10 on the list returned 37.1% and 48.7% per year respectively. Ben Graham devised the Deep Value Checklist late in his life as a much more systematic approach than his other value investing strategies. more »

Value Investing
5 Year Return: 0.0%
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
5 Year Return: -1.6%
Quality Income Screen

Quality Income is a dividend strategy focused on firms with strong fundamentals and high yields, based on research by Societe Generale. It looks for quality income stocks using checklists for identifying strong financial health, low bankruptcy risk and high, but not excessive, yields. Specifically, firms must be capitalised at more than £800 million, have a Piotroski F-Score of more than 7 out of 9 and a strong Altman Z-Score. Yields are capped at 15% to avoid potential dividend traps.The SocGen team explains: "As a real asset class, we think Quality Income is an attractive alternative to anyone buying credit thinking that’s the only way to generate a high yield." SocGen found that quality income stocks produced standout total returns that averaged 11.6% per year since between 1990 and 2012, more than doubling the return of the global equity markets but with significantly reduced volatility. more »

Income Investing
5 Year Return: -4.5%
Buffettology-esque Sustainable Growth Screen

Warren Buffett Sustainable Growth is a quality investing strategy inspired by an interpretation of Warren Buffett's investment approach by Mary Buffett and David Clark in their book, The New Buffettology. It is a strategy that combines Buffett's focus on value and business quality. To work out whether the stock is reasonably valued, the strategy forecasts sustainable earnings growth; the higher that growth rate is, the more likely it is that the company has a durable competitive advantage. The strategy also looks for low debt and a growing earnings yield, return on equity and return on capital employed. In The New Buffettology, Mary Buffett and David Clark explain: "Consistency is everything. Warren is not after a company that occasionally has high returns on shareholders' equity, but one that consistently earns high returns." Remember, Buffett is famous for looking beyond financial measures when examining the quality of a business franchise. more »

Quality Investing
5 Year Return: -5.6%
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
5 Year Return: -6.7%
John Neff Value Screen

John Neff Value is a value investing strategy based on the rules of successful US fund manager John Neff. It combines demanding value criteria with elements of growth, quality and dividend income. Although he didn't like the term, Neff was a contrarian investor buying good companies with moderate growth and high dividends while out of favour, and selling them once they rose to fair value. One of the tools used by Neff is the Total Return Ratio, which is calculated using the price-to-earnings growth factor (PEG), but adjusted for dividend yield - PEGY. John Neff wrote: "If you buy stocks when they are out of favor and unloved, and sell them into strength when other investors recognize their merits, you'll often go home with handsome gains." During his tenure as manager of Vanguard's Windsor Fund between 1964 and 1995, Neff's average annual total return was 13.7%. more »

Value Investing
5 Year Return: -6.7%
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
5 Year Return: -7.0%
Cash Accruals Screen

Cash Accruals is a quality investing strategy inspired by research into the 'accrual anomaly' by American accounting professor Richard Sloan. In company accounts, accruals are adjustments made when revenues have been booked but cash has not yet been received. This screen uses low levels of accruals as a positive quality signal. It looks for companies with a low accrual ratio, where free cash flow is higher than net income and where earnings-per-share is growing. Professor Sloan's research found that: "...firms with relatively high levels of accruals experience negative future abnormal stock returns that are concentrated around future earnings announcements." The research found that companies with small or negative accruals vastly outperform (+10%) those with large accruals. It concluded that investors focus too heavily on earnings and not on cash generation and that the share prices of companies with high accruals are more likely to reverse in future years. more »

Quality Investing
5 Year Return: -11.8%
Walter Schloss 'New Lows' Screen

Walter Schloss New Lows is a value investing strategy based on an approach used by Walter Schloss, who was a disciple of value investing legend Benjamin Graham. The strategy uses value and price factors as its main rules. It searches for companies that are trading below book value, using the price-to-book ratio, and at prices that are close to new lows. Schloss said: "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." Between 1956 and 2000, Schloss's fund produced a compound annual growth rate of 15.7%. In a 1994 shareholder letter, Warren Buffett wrote: "Walter continues to outperform managers who work in temples filled with paintings, staff and computers. And he accomplishes this feat by rummaging among the cigar butts on the floor of capitalism." more »

Bargain Stocks
5 Year Return: -13.3%
Large Cap Dividend Attraction Screen

Large Cap Dividend Attraction is an income strategy discussed by Kevin Matras in his book, Finding Number 1 Stocks. It focuses on dividends paid by strong, large-cap companies with long track records of both earnings and dividend growth and where analysts are upgrading their earnings forecasts. This version of the strategy assesses 5-year dividend growth, Return on Equity, earnings per share growth and Price to Operating Cashflow. It also look for the highest percentage EPS upgrades over the past three months for the next financial year. Kevin Matras explains: "Larger companies with solid earnings, but without the aggressive growth rates that may have marked their earlier years, will often reward their investors by paying out a portion of their earnings as dividends." more »

Income Investing
5 Year Return: -16.2%
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
5 Year Return: -22.7%
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