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What is a Stock Screener?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 August 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Stock screeners are software programs that help investors locate stock options that are likely to fit in well with the investing strategies employed by various investors. A number of these stock screener applications are found online, and have the capability to access the latest business and stock market information from various sources, including stock markets around the world. Most are configured to allow investors to sort and tabulate results based on a number of ascending criteria, making the task of identifying stocks for potential acquisition a relatively easy task.

Most stock screener programs allow investors to conduct searches based on industry type. That makes it easy for investors who want to focus on a given industry to easily identify available options in a given field. An investor may conduct a finance stock screener search, look for stock options connected with manufacturers, or structure a technical stock screener search to find viable options with electronics or computer based businesses. If penny stocks are desirable, many applications are provisioned to allow a penny stock search. It is even possible to narrow the results to stock options that trade on a specific market, if desired.

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It is not unusual for a stock screener to be equipped with preset criteria. For the novice investor who is just learning how to go about locating potential deals, using a tool of this type is a good idea. As the investor becomes more comfortable with the screener software, he or she may begin to venture out and conduct customized stock screener searches. A number of the screener programs allow investors to establish login credentials and save customized searches for future use, a feature that can be extremely helpful.

In terms of cost, there are stock screener applications that are free for use at any time. Some are connected with major search engines, while others are tools offered for use at no charge by brokerage houses. While conducting a search using a free application does not result in a cost at that point, placing an order normally does involve establishing an investment account with the sponsoring organization and incurring a charge for executing the order.

There are also fee-based stock screener programs available. These tend to be somewhat more feature-rich, in that it is possible to narrow the search criteria in more detail than is possible with most of the free applications. Experienced investors who are interested in purchasing stock options connected with niche markets, or that have very specific ideas of what type of options they wish to purchase for their portfolios, are likely to find that the fee-based versions pay for themselves very quickly. This is true both in terms of the wealth of information available and the amount of time it takes to find the right investment opportunities.

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