This article introduces the Stock Screener in Excel developed by MarketXLS.
Apart from managing their investment portfolio, an important part of investors’ activity is to generate new investment ideas. This is also one of those activities that investors enjoy and take pride in. In fact, you will rarely come across an investor who doesn’t think of themselves as an exceptional stock picker. But you try to look closely at their past record or ask them about what their next pick would be and you will get a vague answer.
So, how do successful investors pick their stocks and generate investment ideas. The most important thing here is to have a sound investment strategy and prioritization of companies to invest in followed by in-depth stock analysis based on well defined criteria. But how does one prioritize companies when we have thousands of stocks to choose from?
The most common tool used by investors to prioritize and research stocks is the stock screens. The stock screeners are specially designed to help you narrow down the spectrum of companies that you are interested in based on a number of criteria. For example, while comparing some stocks you might be interested in the one that has a price to book value less than its peers. Similarly, you may be interested in comparing the growth in gross margin over the past few years.
The stock screener in excel from MarketXLS allow you to do just that. To achieve optimum results, you still need to device your own research criteria, but once you have it, MarketXLS screens can make life easy as you can quickly make selections in the stock screens and see whether the stocks meet the desired criteria.
MarketXLS provides two stock screens.
The first screen allows you to conduct in-depth research on a stock that you’ve already shortlisted, or you heard about from somewhere. Let’s say you are hooked to dividend-paying stocks and your preliminary research suggests you to take an in-depth look at Ennis, Inc. (EBF). Now, if you had to conduct your research manually, it could take you a long time, may be days. However, with MarketXLS, stock screen, you can conduct this research within minutes from an easy to use screen. The below screen shows the revenue and gross profit for Ennis Inc for the past 10 years.
It is very easy to work with the stock screener in excel. You can change criteria on the fly and screener quickly represents the updated data almost instantly. Another interesting thing about this screener is that there is no defined path to how you conduct your research. You can start from anywhere and end anywhere. It’s totally up to you. For the above screen, I first searched for the stock name ‘Ennis’ in the company name search box. Once I had that, I chose the two metrics, Revenue and Gross profit, in the metric section.
While the first screener allowed you to conduct in-depth research on one stock, this screener allows you to compare metrics for multiple stocks. The design principles are the same, but with this screener, you can compare the stocks that you have in your shortlist.
So, let’s say you liked Ennis, Inc. You want to compare this with other potential companies in the business supplies industry. Let’s say Herman Miller Inc, and Knoll Inc. With these three stocks in mind, you can launch the second screener and quickly setup your screen for comparison. The below screen shows the revenue trends of the three stocks over the past 10 years.
Note that this screen not just tells you the scale at which these companies are operating, but also how they’ve been trending over the years. A close look tells you that the revenue growth in Ennis is not that impressive compared to the other two. Now, in the metrics section, you can select a new metrics and the graph will reflect the data for the new metric instantly. You can keep comparing various metrics for these three stocks till you have satisfactory results.
This article provided an overview of how stock screener in excel works. In the next few articles, we will take an in-depth look at these screens, what each section does, and how to effectively get the information you’re looking for.