The free stock screener from Portfolio123 has been discontinued.
Our original review of the free stock screener is retained for future reference.
Although the full featured stock screener offered by Portfolio123 requires an annual fee, a free version is still available.
If your budget demands free and you want to backtest your ideas, this may make you forget the other free stock screeners. After taking a test drive of the free version, I am impressed.
Register to get started. Registration gets you the free stock screener with lots of data, access to forums, access to sector and industry weighted 52 week performance, and, incredible as it may seem, back-testing.
You will not be able to use the proprietary screens and ranking systems, but you will have access to the descriptions, methodology used, and the current top picks for each screen and ranking system.
With the demise of the MSN Deluxe screener, this seems to be the best free alternative IF you are interested in custom formulas and need lots of data.
As always, the data requirements of your investing strategies are the primary consideration. The free and the fee-based versions of Portfolio123 have over 500 fundamental, technical, and industry parameters available. The data is not focused in any one area but spread across many categories.
A free form criteria editor is available to set up screen criteria. A point and click wizard is also available for some fields.
If you use more than simple data points, you will be pleased with the free form editor. You can enter a complex formula using company data, industry data, and the rich set of operators offered. In many ways, it is much like entering a formula or using a function in MS Excel.
At this point, you notice additional features that differentiate this stock screener from the competition. You can run the screen against a variety of stock universes such as the S&P 500 or the Russell 2000 if you are not interested in the entire database. Use the expanded "settings" to identify the stock universe to draw from
Use the expanded "settings" to identify the max number of results. Finally, since you cannot use the proprietary ranking systems, you must select Quickrank as your ranking method and enter the data point or formula used to rank the results. Indicate if higher is better or if lower is better.
One of the limitations of free is the ability to save only one custom screen. However, while you are learning the system this is not much of a handicap. After entering a screen, save the screen by name and add some text describing the rationale of your screen.
Once saved, use the Run button or go to the Results tab to see the results of the screen.
NOTE: The free version does give you access to their proprietary screens and proprietary ranking systems. The limitation is that you cannot run them directly or replicate them exactly since the proprietary screens use the ranking systems.
Many of the nice-to-have features are available. Both industry relative and historical data points can be included in the logic. If an investing strategy calls for an industry relative comparison rather than an absolute value, the screener can handle it.
Like most screeners, the results of the screen are provided as a list where each row represents a company that passed the screen. You cannot download the results to a spreadsheet but you can sort the results by any viewable field.
Visualization in the free screener is limited to a Yahoo Finance price/volume chart (5 day or 1 year) of the equity. An ETF will also allow a Snapshot view.
As mentioned earlier, you can limit the results to a specified number.
Custom formulas and advanced logic are included in the free stock screener. Custom formulas can be saved by name for easy re-use.
The Backtest capability (even though limited to one year in the free version) is sufficient to make Portfolio123 the premier free stock screeners available.
You can back-test with a click of the mouse and choose a holding period as short as a week and as long as a year. Even though you are limited to Quickrank, there are simply no other free stock screeners with this feature. And you would be limited to your own ranking techniques in those systems as well.
Your personal investing strategies identify the data and logic needs of the best stock screener for you.
Although some of the features and techniques described will only apply to the fee-based version, you may find it interesting to examine the Dogs of the Dow investing strategy as implemented on the fee-based version of Portfolio123.
If you intend to backtest and can only afford free, this is your only choice. Take a test drive – it is free.
To examine the screener in more detail, you can register for the free screener and then try the 30 day free trial. To register you may need to identify the referrer - if so, please select StockScreening101 from the drop down list.
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Updated June 2013