Here are four of the top stock screeners, and how I use them, to find stocks for day trading, swing trading, and investment.
Trading is a combination of applying a good strategy to a stock that will fully utilize the strategy. While a strategy may produce a profit in any old stock, it is far better to put in the time to find stocks that are more likely to give you the desired outcome from your strategy, whether that is capital gains, risk reduction, dividend income, or finding trending or volatile stocks for day trading.
If you have a great strategy but pick poor stocks to trade (for that strategy), results will be dismal. Trading good stocks, even with a mediocre strategy, will improve performance. It’s not just how we trade, what we trade makes a huge difference.
A stock screener helps filter out stocks that don’t suit a strategy.
Not every stock a screener produces is worth trading. We still need to go through the search results manually and pick the best trades, but this work is a lot easier after the screener has filtered the list down to a manageable size.
I use a number of stock screeners for day trading, swing trading, and investing.
Finviz is one of my favorite stock screening tools.
Screen stocks based on fundamental or technical criteria. Then, sort results by different “views,” such valuation, performance, or stats. There are more views to choose from, and each view shows your scanner results ranked according to different metrics. You can also create your own view (custom), and rank your results according to any criteria you choose.
Create portfolios and watchlists. See what stocks are breaking out or forming chart patterns. Learn what stocks are hot, and not, via the Maps and Groups tools. See when insiders are buying or selling their company’s shares via the Inside tool.
For a tutorial on how to use some of the tools on Finviz, check out the video How to Find the Strongest Stocks in the Strongest Sectors.
Finviz Elite offers real-time alerts on stocks that are breaking out or on the move. You also get to see pre-market movers and can backtest screener results. The Elite upgrade also provides enhanced charting and filtering criteria.
For swing trading, I use Finviz to scan for strongly trending stocks that have recently pulled back. I then look for price patterns that indicate the pullback is nearing an end and the price is starting to move in the trending direction again (see Swing Trading Video Course).
Highly visual. Quickly pan through screened charts for possible trades.
Free version provides nearly everything a swing trader needs.
Screen for fundamental and technical criteria, as well as chart patterns.
Lots of sorting options and ways to quickly see what stocks are strong and which aren’t.
Watchlists and portfolios.
ETF screening as well.
Intraday charts, intraday screening, and interactive charts (with paid membership).
Pre-market data and movers (with paid membership).
See correlated stocks on all search results (with paid membership).
Real-time charts and quotes (with membership)
To access the enhanced features, Finviz Elite is US$39.50/month or US$299.50/year ($24.96/month).
Only US stocks and ETFs.
Stockfetcher is a screener where you type out your own search criteria, meaning there are nearly infinite ways to combine parameters.
Create technical scans and then save them for easy future access. Create watchlists for stocks or ETFs you are interested in.
There is a big forum community for getting help with creating screens.
Another thing I like is that you can add the search criteria right to the chart. For example, if you are screening for volatility and trend, you can add volatility and trend studies/indicators to the search result charts. Once a screen is created, being able to see the criteria on the chart makes finding viable trades quicker.
For day trading, I use Stockfetcher to find stocks that have a long history of intraday volatility.
For swing trading, I use this screener to find trending stocks that pulled back. I then look to get in once the price starts moving in the trending direction. As examples, pullbacks can be filtered based on Fibonacci retracement, price move off the 52-week high/low (or another time frame), or an indicator like the RSI.
Write out your own search criteria, meaning nearly infinite technical criteria combinations.
Great community and support in the forums.
Stock and ETF screening.
Visual format. See the charts of all the screened stocks, with the option to add criteria and studies to the chart.
Cheap membership options.
Can’t use it to screen intraday. It only looks at daily (or longer) information. No real-time quotes.
With the free version, you only get to see 5 stocks from the screener results. To see the full list requires a US$8.95+/month membership.
Writing your own scanner codes takes time and practice.
Only scans for technical criteria, not fundamental.
Only US stocks and ETFs.
Stock Rover is my go-to screener for investing, and is frequently used for finding swing trades as well.
Stock Rover is primarily focused on fundamental data, but you can still add in basic stock criteria like volume, volatility, exchange, price, etc. Interactive charts are provided, with some limited options for charting fundamental and technical criteria along with the price.
All criteria are customizable to exactly what you want, as opposed to only being able to choose pre-selected levels. For example, many screeners may only give you a few options, like RSI above 80, 60, 40, or 20. With Stock Rover, create scans with exact criteria you want such as 37, 12, or 94.
Screening criteria can also be written as equations. For example, EPS 1 year ago > EPS 5 years ago. This means we can really fine-tune our search for exactly what we are looking for.
Run a scan to create a list of stocks….then filter those results again, with different criteria, to find the best of the best.
Instantly compare a stock to others in its industry. This may bring to light other trades you hadn’t thought of, or highlight relative strengths or weaknesses.
Choose how you will sort the results, or use pre-set views like historical performance, historical valuation, profitability, price momentum, company growth, or financial statement data.
For swing trading, I rank stocks by strongest performance and then go through the results (strongest first) looking for trend trade setups. I scroll through the list looking at the charts one at a time. This is a slower process than looking at multiple charts at once, like on Finviz or StockFetcher.
For investing, I have created screeners for value and other investing strategies. These screeners look for stocks at good prices based on the company’s financial health. I also create portfolios of stocks I want to buy at a particular price. That way, when I open the portfolio I can see how far away the stock is from my buy price.
Stock Rover Pros
With access to financial statements and nearly every fundamental criteria imaginable, Stock Rover provides more information to the investor and swing trader than Finviz or Stockfetcher.
Backtest filter results by changing criteria to dates in the past, such as 1 year ago, 3 years ago etc.
10 years of financial statements at your fingertips, with membership. 5 years of financial statements without membership.
Create portfolios and watchlists.
Create criteria equations to fine-tune results.
Filter results again with different criteria.
The free version is adequate for many swing traders and for some investors.
Scan all US and Canadian exchanges.
Intraday quotes on US exchanges.
Lacking technical indicator filters. There are a lot of price action filters though, which is a positive.
If looking through scanner results for chart setups, you can only view one chart at a time (on Finviz and Stockfetcher you can see multiple charts at one time).
Active swing traders and investors will want to upgrade to a paid membership, which is US$249.99/year.
End of day (no intraday) quotes on Canadian exchanges.
Chartmill is unique in that it has a number of features that find potential trades for you, based fundamental metrics or technical patterns.
Under the Analyzer tab, Chart Mill highlight stocks at interesting fundamental or technical crossroads. Within this section, view stock lists related to Technical Breakouts, Affordable Growth, Decent Value, and Strong Growth Technical Setups. Over the years, I have found quite a few viable trades by flipping through these lists. Not all are worth trading; like any stock list, only trade the ones that suit your trading style/strategies.
For swing trading, focus on Technical Breakouts and Strong Growth Stocks Technical Setups. Investors, focus more on Affordable Growth, Decent Value, and possibly Strong Growth Stock Technical Setups.
In terms of the screener, it doesn’t have any major advantageous over the screeners already mentioned. For me, the main draw is the Analyzer section.
Scan US, Canada, London, and other European exchanges.
Full functionally with no membership, but you are only allowed so many actions each month. The free version is adequate if only scanning once or twice a month.
Pre-made stock lists. Checking Analyzer stocks once or twice a month is possible on a free account. Checking them more often will typically require a membership.
Scan for stocks based on technical and fundamental criteria.
Prefer Finviz, Stockfetcher, or Stock Rover for the screening tool, but the Chart Mill Analyzer is useful.
Active traders will quickly run out of free credits/actions. An unlimited access membership is US$29.97/month or US$259.97 per year.
Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes, even with membership
Final Word on Stock Screeners
There are loads of other stock screeners out there. I’ve tried many, but most didn’t provide the technical and fundamental tools I was looking for. The ones above are my favorites.
I day trade, swing trade, and invest, therefore I need screeners for each. This means I end up using all these screeners at times, although having paid memberships to all of them isn’t required. You may find that the free versions work well for your style of trading, or you may end getting a paid membership for one or two of the sites you use most often.
Paying for more data doesn’t necessarily equate to larger profits. Only pay for upgrades that save you time or improve your performance. I use Finviz and Stock Rover multiple times each week. Stock Fetcher I use at least once a week, and ChartMill I check intermittently to see if I like any of the stocks on their Analyzer lists.
If you are interested in learning how to trade the stock market, check out my Stock Market Swing Trading Course. I guide you through 17 videos and more than 12 hours of instruction on how to swing trade stocks effectively and efficiently whether prices are rising or falling. Download and learn at your own pace.
By Cory Mitchell, CMT
The Finviz section includes a referral link, meaning VantagePointTrading gets paid a small fee if people sign up for Elite via the link. All information provided within the article is deemed to be true and accurate at the time of writing, and is the personal opinion of the writer. The writer uses these products regularly.