Scanning for new stock ideas does not have to be a time consuming activity if you know the right websites to go to. The best free stock screeners are provided by top notch financial sites and give investors the tools they need to perform quality stock scans.
Like my list of the best free stock chart websites, this list focuses in on the best stock scanners offered to investors which are free. The criteria used in this ranking includes:
- Depth of filter criteria
- Selection of both fundamental and technical filters
- Ease of use
- Extra functionality
The FINVIZ.com stock screener is ranked first on my list because of it vast selection of criteria, very user friendly interface, and overall functionality. FINVIZ offers a well established list of both fundamental and technical scan filters, and all results are built on the fly. Perhaps my favorite feature is the ability to be able to hover over any stock ticker to see a stock chart of that stock pop up instantly. This is one feature that none of the other stock scanners reviewed below offers. Because of its focus on quality and depth, FINVIZ should be the top stock scanner for every investor.
2. Google Finance
The free stock screener provided by Google Finance is centered around a very easy to use interface with some visual flare. Speed is not an issue and there is only a small learning curve required for use. The major complaint I have though is the selection of criteria able to be utilized to perform scans. There is hardly any technical filters, and the fundamental filters are fairly standard. Results can be clicked for quick access to the respective quote page on Google Finance, a feature also provided by Yahoo Finance.
3. Yahoo Finance
Yahoo Finance always knows what investors wants, which makes it no surprise that its stock scanner also delivers. Yahoo offers two variations, an advanced screener which functions in a separate window using Java, and an basic HTML screener which can be utilized via the same browser window. While the advanced stock screener requires a few minutes to get the hang of, it does offer a wide selection of criteria. What really stood out for me was the emphasis on extra technical criteria which most screeners do not offer. All screens can be saved for later use, exported to excel, or even emailed. Lastly, with your results displayed, you can simply click any ticker to be taken to its appropriate page on Yahoo Finance. 10/14/14 UPDATE – Yahoo now only offers the web based basic screener.
The Morningstar stock screener (create a free basic account then go to stocks –> tools –> stock screener) is very basic but what it lacks in its depth of technical and fundamental criteria to be filtered, it gains with its own proprietary rating system. This free scanner allows investors to narrow results by three Morningstar ratings: growth grade, profitability grade, and financial health grade. All grades are A through F. Once the criteria is chosen, results are displayed on a new page which is a slight inconvenience considering you have to hit the back button on the browser to tweak your criteria and run it again. All in all, the Morningstar screener is basic in functionality but does offer investors the ability to utilize several quality criteria typically reserved for premium members.
Rounding out this list of top stock screeners is the MarketWatch screener which has a very limited selection of fundamental and technical filters but does provide users with a clean and very easy to use interface. And while the screener is very basic overall, what I do like is the fact that the stock filters that are available are all high quality. Overall, the MarketWatch screener may not be useful to investors seeking advanced functionality, but it can definitely be used by investors to produce multiple stock scans for building a targeted watch list.
Do you have a favorite stock screen that is not mentioned above? Please feel free to leave a comment and let everyone know!