When it comes to picking your own stocks it can be hard to sift through all of the data and opinions in order to make sure that you’re buying stocks at the right price.  For instance, if you like Canadian dividend stocks, some may choose to screen for low book values or payout ratios instead of buying based on yield.  One way to do this is to use an online stock screener to filter results based on valuations that work for you.

What I look for in an online stock screener is the ability to screen based on numerous fundamentals.  My personal favourite due to my preference for dividend stocks and my implementation of the Smith Manoeuvre is the exclusive screener that fellow Canadian personal finance geek Mike Heroux creates and updates weekly over at Dividend Stocks Rock.

Click here to download Mike’s current top dividend stock recommendations and get a sneak peak at his screener.

If I were more of a value investing or growth investing type of investor, I’d probably go with one of the stock screeners below.  The key for making the best use of these screeners (and really the key to your entire investment plan) is to have a really solid grasp on WHY you want to prize certain metrics over others in regards to choosing specific stocks and specific price points.  Study after study has shown that when investors have a thorough understanding of their plan – and write it down – that it helps them when market turbulence kicks up. 

Top Canadian Stock Screeners

  1. Questrade Market Intelligence/TMX Stock ScreenerThe TMX and Questrade Stock Screener both pull from the same database to the best of my knowledge. (See our Questrade Review for full details.)   Although not the most powerful stock screener out there, it’ s perhaps as powerful as it’s going to get for Canadian exchanges specifically.  This screener is 100% free, and allows for multiple custom criteria for the most advanced investor. On the results page, you can edit the columns to display different criteria as you please.
  2. Google Finance – Since MSN Money was retired (see below), Google has picked up the slack with their own version of a free stock screener.  They have recently included Canada and the TSX.  Their screening options are comparable to TMX but with an interface that just seems to flow a bit better.  There are still issues with not having certain filter abilities that I’m not a fan of though.
  3. Globe Investor – This one is a popular Canadian stock screener, but the free version is very basic.  You can choose between US or Canadian markets, but only gives you the option to screen for a few variables like earnings, book value and dividend yield.
  4. Stock Charts – For those of you who like to use technical analysis of stock charts when choosing your buy/sell points, stockcharts.com has a nifty stock screener based on technical analysis alone (including TSX).  I like to use these pre-defined screens for momentum ideas for the “play” portion of my portfolio.
  5. Finviz (former #1 pick, but bumped due to limited selection of stocks) This is a relatively new stock screener that I’ve found while searching for ideas in my top stock picks post and is perhaps my favorite at the moment.  What  gives this site an edge is that it offers every imaginable fundamental and technical screen choices along with the option of the US or Canadian market.  For example, you can screen Canadian dividend stocks with a particular dividend yield, low payout ratio, and trading above its 50 day moving average.   Something that is very rare and best of all, it’s free!  Note though, if you are a newer investor, then this site may be a bit intimidating.  Update:  Readers have pointed out that Finwiz only shows Canadian stocks listed on the NYSE, which is not ideal.

Other Notable Stock Screeners

  1. Yahoo Finance – While I don’t have much experience using Yahoo’s stock screener, it appears to have a similar interface as Globe Investor with limited options.  As well, this does not screen Canadian markets.
  2. MSN – As mentioned before, the main stock screen tool in town was the MSN Money tool.  While this tool does not screen Canadian stocks, it has numerous valuation metrics to choose.  However, it appears that this tool was retired in Nov 2009.

For those of you who buy and sell stocks, do you use a stock screener?  If so, which ones do you use?

 
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I’m always suspicious of the data problems, especially in the case of free screeners.

Good list. I had just come across Finviz quite recently myself as well. As above – screening tools just provide a starting point for your research..

Awesome set of tools FT. I hadn’t even heard of Finviz but will definitely check it out. I really like the idea of the CDN dividend screening tools – finally available somewhere!

It’s amazing how many media companies have a Canada specific webpage, but don’t screen Canadian stocks, or without the metrics offered for their US stocks.

Since Canadians keep getting ignored, I suppose they think we’re financially uneducated (don’t know how to use screeners) or don’t have any money (don’t need a screener with nothing to invest.)

Oh wait, I get it. We’re cheap SOBs, that’s why free screeners of Canadian stocks either suck, shutdown, or become subscription based.

Canada is just full of Frugal Traders I guess. ;-)

http://www.tmxmoney.com/ ? That was the first one I had ever used

Just took a look at FinVis and I don’t see a way to screen stocks on the TSX. You can limit to Canada, but they look like they’re still on US exchanges.

When I look for Canadian dividend payers I find these two websites beneficial before I investigate a stock further:

Stingy Investor – http://www.ndir.com/SI/strategy/tse60.d.shtml

Dividend Investor – http://dividendinvestor.ca/

I used to use Globe Investor since it had a really slick screener tool for dividend yield by sector, but they changed the interface and I can’t figure out how to duplicate the results.

I also use the one on the TSE webpage. It works well…and its fairly straightforward.

FT, there’s no TSX exchange on the drop down menu! I agree with Dilbert789 that you can select Canada but those price chart/info are based on NYSE.

There’s no screener that comes close to my needs than FP infomart. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to it any more and am struggling to find a one with equal quality of data/screener for Canadian stocks.

I’m currently using Questrade stock screener- the only back-up option. I don’t mind to pay a little if anyone can suggest a good paid-service screener.

Recently read a lot from G&M about a Canadian premium screening tool validea.ca. It’s not cheap!

Cool post. I will have to check out Finviz.

Great tools FT, thanks for this.

Like Echo, I use:

http://www.ndir.com/SI/strategy/tse60.d.shtml

http://dividendinvestor.ca/

Again, both tools are just a starting point for me.

I need to check out Finviz as well.

Here’s a technical analysis tool from Stockhouse (includes Canada)……

http://preview.tinyurl.com/4covmm5

Great post, FT. I like the Finviz find… I hadn’t heard of that before. I did choose Canada, as you said in your response to @Jane. It looks at first like it works, but if you actually click on a ticker (I tried BCE and TRP), it’s definitely showing their NYSE data.

I use GlobeInvestor, and I often do an export of my watchlist and dump it into a spreadsheet for a simpler interface…

Hey, FT,

Are you concerned that all this public information is already built into current stock prices?

How do you avoid complex analysis that just ends up picking last year’s winners (such as looking at the moving average)?

Ed

Thanks, Brandon. It wasn’t obvious, but the TMX screener can be found at: http://tmx.quotemedia.com/screener.php?qm_page=86910

I don’t like choosing several criteria and then the results are displayed without showing the criteria. The summary seems to always have the same, basic data.

But, at least it is Canadian specific!

@ FT

It’s worse then just showing the NYSE prices, it only shows Canadian companies who are listed on the NYSE.

If you do a search for ALL entries in canada you get a total of about 170 hits.

I was very excited by the advanced features of this tool but if it can only search the american exchanges then it’s not really useful for Canadian screening at all.

Too bad.

agree with Steve. You would miss MANY Canadian stocks by only looking at Canadian companies listed on NYSE only. This has to be aware of.

i just realized that Questrade Screener is the same one as TMX screener!

The bad is you can’t download the screen to excel from both.

to 18 cannon_fodder
you can customize the column you want to see by click on edit columns link just on the up right corner of the screening results and you can expand to show more columns by click on “view more selections”! However you can only select up to 8 fields each time.

Jane

I’ve found that barchart dot com is quite nice.

It has TSX/TSX-V as well as London, India, etc.

Realtime data available for a fee, but if you don’t need RT, it’s a winner.

Building custom profiles using their screeners can be a bit complicated, but it’s got great coverage.

For Canadian mutual funds, there’s also fundlibrary dot com, and although it’s not a screener per se, the emerging optimize dot ca is oddly appealing.

A very good stock screener is the cnbc stock screener. Lets you check different exchanges (including montreal) AND compare some characteristics against an absolute value, against the entire market, or against all the companies in the same industry. E.g. find all stocks with the highest 20% roe in an industry.

Thanks Jane. Have you tried excels web importing feature with either TMX or Questrade?

I like the TMX screener too. It even works on NASDAQ, NYSE. Maybe / probably that will soon include the LSE?! ;-)

To Cannon_folder

No. I have one set up with MSN money (Real time quote querry 15min delay) and found that’s useful. Do you know how to set up excel web importing with TMX (forget about Questrade you would need password etc i would think)?

Thanks Gaby A. for sharing CNBC. That’s an excellent find! I just played it a little bit and found it quite good (like that feature that you can compare to industry, download to excel and etc.). I’m also wondering whether you can download real-time query sth like what Cannon_folder was asking for TMX. The only bad is you can’t see the criteria in the screening results other than predetermined screen columns.

Jane

Zignals has a very nice free screener for all the exchanges. It’s very similar to google finance screener but it includes Canadian stocks.

http://members.zignals.com/main/index.aspx

Mo

Take a look at the ADVFN site. I use that for several of my screens.

ADVFN all the way! Very comprehensive stock screener for any Canadian stock.

Thanks Fernando & Colin for referring ADVFN! It’s very impressive so far! contains way more screening criteria than TMX or CNBC. I love it. This is probably the best screening tool exists. Will try Zignals later.

Jane

I have my own Google Spreadsheet tracker which is essentially my screener. As I find more companies I want to track, I add it to the list. I can run any numbers I want. I have established some formulas to highlight buy opportunities that I use to further look at the company.

In the end, I always end up pulling the quarterly statements before pulling the trigger.

I’m surprised not to see Freestockcharts.com posted here… although at first glance it does not appear like a stock screener, it is diverse enough it can function in that manner too depending on how you set up your selections.

I was a bit skeptical about the clumped-together praise for ADVFN, but I decided to register on the site nonetheless and try it out – I’m impressed.

Don’t forget your bank’s website!

I have BMO investorline. It has the premium globe investor screener when you are a customer. Also Td waterhouse has a pretty one too that I like to use to search for ETFs (as for the stocks i think it’s buggy and the BMO one is not powerful enough for ETFs).

And please everybody write to Finviz so the add the canadian markets. It’s the best out there.

Over the weekend i signed up with AVDNF (i’m spelling it wrong on purpose as i don’t want to advertise them) to try it out. All I can say is I can’t make heads or tails out of it and like any lame website they started spamming my email with stupid ads. Fortunatly i used a disposable email address.

How do screeners work exactly? Specifically, where do they get their data and do they include all stocks? What is the best Canadian screener, free or not?

Having a screener is great until I realized I can’t use it because I don’t know what to input.

Used the TMX screener for a while, but there are so many wrong or incomplete numbers in their data… PE ratio x EPS should equal the price; however, often it doesn’t, with wild, odd numbers in both columns. Also, FCF available, but these numbers are often wrong as well.

Finviz is really only american – no TSX option available, and no FCF or Cash flow selections.

Google Finance – why wouldn’t they include Cash Flow or better yet, FCF? Bizarre!

Thanks for the article. Noticed that TMXmoney’s stock screener is now available on their mobile site which I haven’t really seen elsewhere. You can also save them now which you couldn’t do before.

here’s the link:

http://mobile.tmxmoney.com/screener

I am looking for a Canadian stock scanner TSX and or TSXV, which will produce a list of stocks trading XXX or more times a day.
So I need a scanner which permits filtering by number of trades per day.
Should anyone know of one, please post a link.
Many thanks!

I have use Robur, they are quite unique as they use 5 year fundamental data and then rank the companies from top performing and bottom performing.

They also have a subscription which gives me access to the 5yr data for only $15 a month which is cool, but the screener is free. Here is the link:

http://www.roburir.com

I had been using MarketXLS for this. It really works for me.?