Lately I’ve been on the hunt for some more dividend stocks to add to my portfolio. The search to find quality companies at a decent price can sometimes be overwhelming.
To help narrow down the search I’ve started using stock screeners with specific criteria. I wanted to find a stock screener that was easy to use but also could narrow down the search using a specific set of search criteria.
Some dividend investors would search for companies that pay a certain yield; I wanted a screener that had the option to search using specific criteria (including yield) to really narrow down the search. A search result of hundreds of different companies would mean even more work would need to be done since I wouldn’t be able to invest in them all.
I also wanted to find a screener that is free. While I’m sure some paid screeners are great, right now I’m only interested in finding a screener that won’t cost me money.
Google Finance Stock Screener
The best free stock screener I’ve come across has been Google Finance. It allows you to search for companies using a wide range of criteria such as earnings per share, net income growth and even earnings per share growth rate. It also allows for searches across different countries/stock markets, which is not offered by other stock screeners.
The nice thing about Google’s stock screener is that the results update as more criteria get added (or deleted) and you can add up to 12 different criteria. If your search criteria are too narrow you will end up with a very small list, and vice versa if your search criteria are too broad. When criteria gets added you can see the bell curve of where companies lie which gives you a better idea of what your results will be.
Other Stock Screeners
- TMX Stock Screener – this screener is also pretty solid and allows you to add multiple criteria to search from. You can also set up a search using criteria you regularly use and then save it to be used later on when you search again. The only drawback is that there are no bell curves like Google Finance so when you search you really don’t know how many results you will get.
- Globe Investor – another decent stock screener, this one works similarly to TMX in that you can add multiple search criteria. The free version is fairly simple and doesn’t allow for as much criteria as the paid one. For example, this screener only allows you to search for 3 year revenue growth while Google’s screener allows you to search for 5 and 10 year revenue growth.
During my latest search I used a few criteria I thought would be important in finding quality companies to invest in:
- Earnings per share. I searched for companies that had positive earnings per share only
- Dividend yield. This is obvious for anyone looking to buy dividend stocks. I searched for companies that paid a dividend north of about 3%.
- EPS growth rate. Using Google’s screener I searched the 10 year EPS growth rate, as I wanted to find companies that have a solid history of growth potential
- Net income growth rate. I also used this to find companies that have potential for growth. I wasn’t interested in revenue growth as much since the ‘bottom line’ is more important than just revenues
My search results gave me about 50 solid companies I could consider investing in, and from there I took the data and transported it to an excel spreadsheet where I could sort it for easier viewing. I also saved the data in a spreadsheet so I could take a look for later – something not available in Google Finance (as far as I know). The companies were probably what you’d expect – blue chip banks, REITs and a few oil and gas companies.
Conclusion – different investors will have different search preferences and the nice thing about a stock screener is that you can search based on what is important to you. I’d recommend Google’s screener because it’s easy to use, can search many different criteria and it’s free.
What do you look for when searching for dividend stocks? Am I missing any screeners out there?