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How to Screen For Stocks

money Here at The Motley Fool Singapore, we recently opened up the floor for any Foolish question that our readers might have. We’ve answered a number of questions regarding the right mindset when it comes to investing and how to value a company. One of the latest questions we received was:

Where I can filter Singapore stocks based on my own criteria?”

Despite Singapore’s small size, our local exchange, Singapore Exchange (SGX: S68) has over 800 listed companies. Some may feel that it is relatively easy to crunch the numbers to decide whether or not a stock is good value, but find that company is akin to finding a needle in the haystack.

The good news to finding the right stock for you is that you do not have to pay top dollars in order to get hold of a comprehensive stock screener. For a start, you can look to your own brokerage firms which you trade from as they usually provide an in-house stock screener for easy usage. For example, DBS Vickers, a subsidiary of DBS Group (SGX: D05) and UOB-Kay Hian (SGX: U10), are two stockbroker houses with such a service.

There are also the popular search engines, Google and Yahoo, that have stock screeners too. The Google stock screener is fairly user-friendly. Adding and removing criteria is a breeze. As for the Yahoo finance screener, it offers two variations. The advanced scanner offers a wide selection of criteria but probably require some time to get the hang of it.

Determine your Criteria

The next step will be to set the right criteria. There are several schools of thought, but let’s use Warren Buffett as an example. Warren Buffett prefers to invest in undervalued stocks, and invests in businesses with high pricing power, and an efficient management team that optimises capital allocation. This can roughly mean looking at the numbers such as the business’ net profit margin and Return-on-Equity (ROE).

To sum it up, running stocks through a screener can really speed things up especially when you wish to blend in different criteria together. In the next series of articles, I will do a brief run-through on the stock screener and talk about companies which score quite well on a particular criterion such as those mentioned above, so stay tuned.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice.   Motley Fool Singapore contributor James Yeo doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.