The MSN Deluxe stock screener is generally regarded as the best of the free screeners. Some even consider it the best stock screener overall – even better than the fee based alternatives.
There are actually 2 screeners available from MSN, but since both are free, only the Deluxe version will be evaluated. It is available online (but only from Internet Explorer) at MSN Money Central. Once you download and install the front-end, you have access to MSN Deluxe.
The Deluxe screener also provides access to all the pre-defined screens at MSN Money Central.
In addition to offering over 100 fundamental and technical data fields for screening, all of the Stock Scouter system ratings are available within the screener. Stock Scouter is a proprietary rating system, which if you understand and are comfortable using may improve the performance of your investing strategies.
Custom screens can be saved by name for later recall and use.
The date of the fundamental data is not available directly as a screenable field. However, this is only an inconvenience since the date can be checked within MSN by using the right mouse button and selecting “SEC filings” on the ticker for any company in the screen results.
Only “AND” logic is provided but the operators are excellent. It is possible to limit the number of results returned. Keep in mind that one of the ranking operators should be used in conjunction with this feature.
Within the data fields are some industry averages, particularly in the price ratios. Some historical data (e.g., 5 year
averages), year over year and quarter over quarter growth are provided but these are not extensive.
Screening results can be saved in a Money Central portfolio or exported. Exporting includes not only the tickers, but all the data in the view you create. A very nice feature of the export is the option to save the criteria used to create the results. Something of great value when you review the results at a later date.
The data view is independent of the criteria in the sense that (within the screen) you can identify data to include in the view of the results. This does not affect screening. All screening criteria are included in the view. Any field in the view can be sorted ascending or descending.
Backtesting is not available. This is unfortunate since it would be great to be able to test the effectiveness of the Stock Scouter system instead of accepting MSN’s view of it. But, it is free.
Custom formulas cannot be created and it is not possible to import a list of stocks or run against a watchlist. “OR” logic is not available.
Your personal investing strategies identify the data and logic needs of the best stock screener for you.
The Tiny Titans investment strategy discussed elsewhere on this site is used to illustrate how a screen was implemented in MSN Deluxe . The Dogs of the Dow is included as a predefined screen.
MSN Deluxe includes every “must have” and “nice to have” feature of a stock screener. One of the most intuitive to operate, if it handles the requirements of your back-tested strategies, it is a great choice.
Notice that it does require Internet Explorer.
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