There are several ways to learn about new companies and sectors to invest your hard money in. I am being a dumb investor (yes, still I am even after a couple of years in the market!!) dependent so far on business news websites like moneycontrol.com, business-standard.com. Usually, I come across an interesting story, like millions of other readers, and then start to dig a little into sector and/or companies mentioned.
But, I learnt that this top-down approach is not the most effective way since the news papers, sites, analysts and brokerage firms can and will cover only a small percentage of the companies listed on NSE/BSE and you miss out on the bigger percentage where some of the best opportunities lie hidden. And you basically just follow the crowd since everyone have the same information as you!
So, the obvious (which was not so obvious till a week ago) question was “is there a better way?.”
And the answer is yes, that’s what I got while reading a book yesterday and it’s called stock screening. Stock screening, simply put, is the process of filtering/identifying companies, from thousands across sectors and industries, based on parameters that meets an individual’s risk, expected returns, and even taste. One example could be searching for companies with a dividend yield of 4% or more. Of course, this will only help you cut down the number of companies to look at from 1000s to, possibly, few 10s but then one needs to analyze each company further to better understand its business, past and future(expected) performance before making a decision of whether to invest in it or not.
Since we are lucky to be living in an internet age this screening process is not as daunting as it could sound like. There are several tools, limited for Indian stocks but numerous for US listed ones, that help with this and some of the good ones are really free! The following is the list of some sites and tools that provide free tools to screen NSE and BSE listed stocks.
I had used this site in the past and I really like it. It provides a decent number of parameters, more than equity master which comes next in the list, to filter stocks on and the research section of the site also includes various other useful tools that can be really useful. The following screenshots shows the search form and the results for a search on stocks in NSE 500 that have a dividend yield of more than 3%
Screenshots of IDBI, other stock screeners information and comparison…