Overview of Screeners

Screeners allow you to filter through all stocks to find only the ones that meet certain criteria. The available filtering criteria is comprehensive; Stock Rover contains over 275 metrics, which cover price performance, financial and operational metrics, as well as sector and industry affiliation. Screeners use the most recent stock data, meaning that the results of a screener may change over time, but historical data of some of our metrics is available to Premium subscribers.

Create or Import a Screener

Create a New Screener

There are a few ways to create a new screener. The first way is to select ‘Create Screener’ in the Start menu, either by saving it to the Start menu or searching for it.

create new screener through task wizard

This will bring up the screener manager (shown below). Here in Step 1 you can rename and add notes to the screener, or choose to make it ranked screener, in Step 2 you can select a metric, either by navigating through the folders or by using the Quick Select box, and add criteria for screening on the right, and it will automatically be added to the screener’s criteria in Step 3, where you can review the screener before clicking ‘Create’ in Step 4.

the screener manager

Note that you can see how many stocks pass the screener as you adjust the screener’s values. This is a time-saver over many other screening tools that require you to select all of your criteria and values prior to seeing how many stocks pass the screener.

You can also get to this manager by right-clicking on ‘My Screeners’ in the Navigation panel and selecting ‘Create Screener.’

Screener's drop-down menu

Another way to create a screener is to save Table filters as a screener. If you have any filters in place in the Table, you can click the ‘Actions’ button in the Table’s toolbar, mouseover ‘Save’ and select ‘Save Filter As Screener‘ from the drop-down menu. To learn more about Table filters, see the Table filters help pages section.

saving Table filters

Import a Screener

In Stock Rover, it is possible to import a Screener that was previously exported from Stock Rover. The file will be in .txt format. You can also import screeners from the Investors’ Library. To import a screener that is stored on your computer, click ‘Import Screener’ in the Start menu, or search for it in the Start menu by using the search box at the bottom.

right-click screener in navigation panel

This will bring up a window where you can navigate to the file that you want to import. Once you have found the file,the screener’s contents will load in the manager. After ensuring that Stock Rover read the screener correctly, click ‘Import’ and it will be added under ‘My Screeners’ in the Navigation panel.

importing a screener

You can also get to this window by right-clicking ‘My Screeners’ in the Navigation panel and selecting ‘Import Screener.’

importing a screener

Ranked Screeners

You can also choose to create a ranked screener in Stock Rover, which ranks stocks according to user-defined criteria that can be separately weighted for importance. To create a ranked screener, go through the process of creating a new screener as described in the
previous section, and then check the ‘Use Advanced Ranking Features’ box in Step 1 of the screener manager, circled below.

quant features

This will create a few options. First, in Step 1 you can set a limit for how many stocks the ranked screener will return in Step 1 (the default is 50, but it may return up to 250 stocks). In Step 2, two additional options appear: percent weight and preferred order of score (boxed in the screenshot above).

With the ranking feature activated, you can add filter criteria without using the weighting (as you can see below with the Dividend Yield criterion in Step 3), you can weight a metric without adding filter values (as you can see below with YTD Return criterion), or you can assign both a weight and filter values for a metric (as you can see below with the Dividend 1- and 3-year changes and the EPS criteria). Note that below Step 3 you can see the number of stocks that pass your screener, as well as the number that will be returned as specified in Step 1.

the ranked screener criteria

When you click ‘Create’ the number of stocks specified in Step 1 will be loaded in the Table. If you have weighted the stocks so that the sum of their weights is not equal to 100%, you will be prompted to either let Stock Rover auto-adjust the weights for you, or to adjust the weights yourself. You can choose to have Stock Rover always auto-adjust the weights by checking the box.

auto-adjust weights

When you run the ranked screener, the top-ranked stocks will load in the Table and a ‘Rank’ column will appear to the right of the Ticker column with the rank of each of the stocks. If you mouseover a stock’s rank, you’ll be able to see information about that stock’s score. Note that the rank column will appear only when you are running a ranked screener; if you switch to a different dataset in the Table, the rank column will disappear.

ranked results

From here, a ranked screener can be accessed and modified in the same manner as an ordinary screener. Please see the Update a Screener section for more information. For more information on applying a ranked screener to a portfolio, please see the Apply a Screener to a Set of Tickers section.

Equation Screeners

Equations let you create highly specific screening criteria using custom, freeform metric comparisons. In an equation, you can use numbers, arithmetic operators (+-*/), comparison symbols (>, <, >=, <=, =), parenthesis, and Boolean operators (and, or). You can also screen on historical data (e.g., last year’s sales or EPS from 5 quarters ago).

To create a screener using equations, first open the screener manager. Then, check the box for ‘Use Freeform Equation’ at the top of Step 2. You will then see the following equation editor in Step 2 of your screener manager:

equation editor

You can edit the equation in two modes:

Assisted Mode (default) eases the process of adding metrics to your equation by letting you pick metrics from pop-up search results as you type. To insert a metric, simply start typing a metric name into the equation editor and select from the list that appears.

Text Mode lets you edit the equation as plain text so that cut, copy, and paste are fully supported. To enter a metric, type the full metric name in double quotes (for example, “Cash Flow”) into the equation editor.

These modes are selectable by the radio buttons at the top of the equation editor, called out below.

equation editor mode

In either mode, you can always find and select a metric from the left panel to insert it into the equation. Any metric shown with a calendar icon has historical data available for screening.

If you uncheck the ‘Use Freeform Equations’ box, you will go back to the main screener editor. You will not lose any of your saved equations; they will still be included in your screening criteria.

Assisted Mode

Assisted mode is the default mode for using the equation editor. To add a metric to the equation, simply begin typing the metric name in the equation form to call up a list of dynamic search results, as shown below.

searching for a metric

If you select a metric, it will be added to the equation box. If you have selected a metric with historical data (which would be shown with a calendar icon), it will default to the current value, but if you click the ‘Now’ box, it will reveal a menu where you can select from quarterly or yearly data, example shown below.

screening with historical data

From here, you can use arithmetic operators (+,-,*,/), the pow() and exp() functions for powers and exponents, comparison symbols (<, >, <=, >=, =), parenthesis, and Boolean operators (“and”, “or”) to create an equation. A comparison symbol is necessary to make an equation valid.

You can enter numerical values into the equation, use any other metric, or use any supported historical data. Below, you can see that the equation is set up to screen for stocks whose sales are 15% greater than they were a year ago, or for stocks whose EPS this quarter is 10% or greater than its EPS last quarter.

screening with an equation

Text Mode

The advantage of text mode is that it supports copy and paste. So, for example, you could easily share equation criteria with others, or you could create multiple variations on the same basic equation easily by copying and pasting. However, because the equations in text mode are entered in plain text, you must be careful to enter the equation using the precise terms and conventions. All metric names must be entered in double quotes and fully spelled out (for example, use Price/Earnings instead of P/E). The following image shows a correctly-entered equation.

equation in text mode

Like in assisted mode, metrics entered in text mode will default to the current period (“Now”). For example if you enter “Cash Flow” in your equation, it will use current cash flow values. However, you can change the period by entering a different period in brackets following the metric name, for example [Y1 for 1 year ago or [Q1] for 1 quarter ago. The above image shows an equation comparing the return on asset values from 5 and 6 years ago.

If you’re equation is not entered correctly, you will receive an error message saying that the equation is invalid. See the next section to learn how to test your equation to make sure that it is valid.

Testing and Saving Equations

You can test any equation to make sure it is valid simply by clicking the button that says ‘Test’ at the bottom of the equation editor. That will open up a small window of information like the following:

test equation

As called out in red above, you will see a message that tells you whether or not the equation is valid and, if it is valid, how many stocks pass the filter. Below that, you’ll see sample values for the metrics included in the equation (in the image above, the sample values shown are for Agilent Technologies). You can change the sample ticker using the search form.

Click ‘Close’ to close the Test window and continue editing your screener.

Click ‘Save ’ when you are finished editing an equation, and the equation will be to the criteria in Step 3, with the number of passing stocks listed just below. After you’ve saved your equation, it will still appear in the equation box, so click ‘Create New Equation’ to clear the box for a new equation. Or, you can uncheck the ‘Use Freeform Equation’ box to go back to the regular screener setup.

screening with an equation

Please note the following limitations of screener equations: Currently screener equations are used strictly as filtering criteria and cannot be weighted using the ranking feature. However, you can use equations and ranking on non-equation criteria in the same screener. Equation criteria will also not be included when you apply a screener to the table.

Update a Screener

To update a screener, you can click or search for ‘Run Screener’ in the Start menu.

start menu

This will will bring up a window where you can choose any of your screeners by selecting them on the left and clicking ‘Update’ under the screener description on the right.

screeners

Or, you can right-click on the screener in the Navigation panel and select ‘Modify’ from the drop-down menu.

screeners

Either of these two actions will bring up the screener manager, shown below. To modify the screener’s criteria, select the metric from Step 3, and edit its values in Step 2. When you have finished updating your screener, click ‘Update’ in Step 4.

edit filter in screener manager

Note that you can see how many stocks pass the screener dynamically as you edit the criteria. The following section explains how you can toggle different filters on or off to see how the results change.

Apply Screener to a Ticker Set

While running a screener applies the screener criteria to all of the stocks in the North American exchanges, it is possible to apply the filters from a screener to any defined population of stocks, such as a portfolio, watchlist, or sector (unless the screener contains an equation, in which case it is not able to be applied to the Table and this option will be greyed out.). To do this, first load the set of tickers you want to screen in the Table. Then, right-click on the screener you want to apply to those tickers in the Navigation panel and select ‘Screen Current Table.’ The screener criteria will now be applied as a set of filters to the Table. For more on how filters work, see the Filter section of the help documentation.

applying a screener to the table

If the screener you want to apply is a ranked screener, you will have the option to either apply just the non-ranked screener criteria to the Table (that will apply filter values but no weights) by selecting ‘Screen Current Table,’ or you have the option to rank the portfolio or watchlist by the screener criteria by selecting ‘Apply Ranked Screener to Portfolio’ or ‘Apply Ranked Screener to Watchlist,’ again, unless the screener contains an equation, in which case it is not able to be applied to the Table and these option will be greyed out. This will load that portfolio or watchlist in the Table, as well as add two additional ‘Rank’ columns to the Table.

The first rank column shows the rank number of any the stocks in the portfolio that pass the ranked screener out of all the stocks in the North American exchanges. The second rank column will rank just the stocks in the portfolio or watchlist according to the specified weights. The ‘Rank Within Table’ number will be green if the stock passed the original ranked screener and red if it did not. If you mouseover the rank, you can see the breakdown of the scoring. Values in red indicate where the stock failed to pass the original ranked screener.

portfolio ranked by ranked screener

You can still get scoring information about a stock even if it didn’t pass the original screener, simply mouseover the dash in the ‘Rank’ column and you will see scoring and the filter breakdown for that stock. Failing criteria are in red.

quant info on stock on non-ranking stock

Save Screener Results

Because each time you run a screener it runs with the most recent data, the results can change each time you run it. In order to “freeze” the results of a screener, click the ‘Actions’ button in the table’s toolbar, mouseover ‘Save’ select to save the returned list of tickers as a watchlist or as a portfolio.

click save button in table and save as watchlist

When clicked, a window will appear where you can name the watchlist or portfolio and save it as is, with all of the screener’s matching stocks included, or follow the ‘Click to Customize’ link to modify the watchlist or portfolio further.

create new watchlist window

For more on how to modify a new watchlist or a portfolio, see the Update a Watchlist
or the Update a Portfolio sections of this guide.

See Screener Criteria

If you’d like to see your screener’s criteria without having to go to the screener manager, you can enable Navigation panel tooltips, which allow you to see a tooltip of the screener criteria on a mouseover of the screener’s name in the Navigation panel. To enable these tooltips, go to the ‘Settings’ in the top right of the screen and click ‘Preferences’.

Screener criteria tooltips

Under the ‘Tooltips,’ and check the box for ‘Show Navigation panel tooltips.’ Now, when you mouseover a screener in the Navigation panel, you will see a tooltip with the screener’s criteria listed, like the one shown below.

enabling screener criteria tooltips

If you’d like the screener criteria to be listed in a printable format, then you can export a screener and the screener’s criteria will be put into a txt file that will download to whatever folder is specified by your browser.

To export a screener, right-click the screener in the Navigation panel and select ‘Export’ from the drop-down menu.

Exporting a screener

This will download the screener to a txt file, which can then be imported into Stock Rover. At the end of the bottom of the file there will be a readable version of the screener criteria, shown below.

exported screnener file