Screening the Market


Stock analysis is important, and there are a gazillion or so books, classes, seminars, workshops, etc. dedicated to helping you do it more effectively. But no matter how much belief and commitment I or anyone else has toward an approach to analysis, we all need something else: Before we decide whether a stock is good, bad or in between, we need to decide which stocks to look at. This is a critical, and typically under-appreciated step. If you squander your time and resources looking at stocks that aren’t worthy of being considered, you’re setting  yourself up for failure before you even start. On the other hand, if you can focus your efforts on a collection of stocks that has been sensibly pre-qualified much the way a successful sales person tries to pre-qualify leads rather than calling on every name that pops up at random, you’re much better positioned for success. 

Presented here are idea-generating screens from Chaikin Analytics and Portfolio123 Research Director Marc Gerstein author of Screening the Market. When screening for this purpose, it is presumed one will not automatically purchase all names appearing on a result list but will instead use the list as a springboard for further study of individual stocks. 

Click here for more on how screening can help investors find ideas worthy of consideration.

Here is an archive of articles that presented and explained Idea-Generation screens on this site.


Details of ranking systems used in these screens can be found here.

Also worth reviewing is the Portfolio123 Strategy Design Cheat Sheet, which a brief and simple summary of the theoretical underpinnings upon which the screens are based (For a more comprehensive presentation, see the presented in the P123 Spotlight Strategy Design Course.)


  • Bullish Swing Trade, a Chaikin Analytics “starter screen” that imbues the often fanciful dream of buying at the bottom of a stock’s trading range and then selling at the top with a hefty commitment to sound financial principles.
  • Finding Buyable Stocks After a Market Rally, a screen that works with the reality that stocks, however strong, never really go straight up. They zig and zag, or correct as some say. In screening terms, we’re looking at stocks with generally strong fundamentals and technicals but which pave paused to the point of what amounts to a technically “{oversold” position. Rather than feeling as if one has missed out after having failed to get in on day one, these oversold pauses can be used as in-rally entry points.
  • Screening For Stocks That Undergo Confirmed Personality Changes, a set of screening ideas built on the Chaikin Analytics platform that searches for stocks that have experienced a “personality” change, from bearish to bullish, or from bullish to bearish and for which the stock’s rating under Chaikin’s proprietary Power Gauge ranking system suggests a high probability that the stock will, going forward, perform in accordance with its newly adopted personality.
  • A Built for Stability Stock Model that uses Beta, the much revered Nobel Prize winning statistical measure of risk but takes extra measures to avoid falling into the trap of giving statistical indicators more reverence than they warrant. Beta tells us how stocks actually performed in the past relative to the market.This model goes further than works with fundamental factors that cause a stock’s level of volatility to be what it is. That makes it more probable that the stock’s future Beta come out along the lines of what we expect based on the past.
  • Low P/E Isn’t Working But Value Investing Is Fine (Yes, Really), a screen that finds large-cap value stocks at times when low ratios such as P/E, Price/Sales, etc. are not proving useful. We know that low ratios are worth pursuing, all else being equal. This particular value screen focuses on the “all else” and is designed for times when they may not be “equal.”
  • Understanding Micro-Nano Cap Stocks and Finding Potentially Good Ones, a screen that has its genesis in the academically established Size Factor (more popularly known as the “small cap effect”) enhanced by the general love on the part of many, especially individuals, for small, micro, or nano. There is something to this, beyond what the bean counters have observed. but to make the idea investable, we have to, and do, look at other things that separate worthwhile small stocks from probable dregs.
  • “Small-cap Value” Is Not Just Value With A Smaller Size Filter, another screen that finds stocks with low P/E etc. ratios that can succeed even when value is popularly assumed to be out of favor. This screen is adapted to the particular characteristics of the small-cap segment of the market. Post discusses the difference between “value investing” and the “value factor,” which many (erroneously) assume are the same.
  • EPS Surprise and Then Some, a screen that starts with idea that positive earnings surprises precede good things for shares of the companies that report them (as often observed anecdotally) but which recognizes that this alone is not enough to support a full-blown strategy. It’s supplemented by consideration of Value, Quality, and more comprehensive consideration of Wall Street Sentiment.