How to Find the Best Stocks to Buy in 2018

If you’re looking to get into investing, and while the market is currently down compared to higher levels earlier in the year, now is still a great time to get involved. Finding solid investments to day and swing trade by hand can be difficult, but a stock screener can turn the tide in your favor. Services like Finviz can help find short-term trades and identify trends for long-term trades.

What is a Stock Screener?

A stock screener is a filter that lets you sort through thousands of stocks and only shows those stocks that match your data criteria. You can base a scan around one single piece of data, or look for multiples. Most traders use the price-to-earnings ratio and moving averages to hunt for stocks. High volume is another good indicator when combined with other search factors.

Which One Should I Use?

There are several popular and free to use stock screeners available online. Finviz is probably the most popular thanks to its extensive feature set. Finviz divides its data into three different sections. Those sections are: descriptive, fundamental, and technical.Descriptive factors include the exchange, market cap, and sector for a chosen stock. Fundamental factors look at earnings per share, return on equity, and other financial data. Technical factors let investors look at stocks trading below a moving average, or are trading at a specific pattern.Finviz also includes filters to help traders stay on top of the earnings season. You can see which stocks are releasing their earnings over the next set number of days. You can also eliminate illiquid stocks by setting an average volume times the number of shares. This in-depth Finviz review will help you understand more about the service.

How are they Useful?

Aside from filtering through a massive list of stocks very quickly, stock screeners are also good for niche traders. Penny stock traders might want to use a stock screener to find good investment opportunities that have been overlooked.The benefit of the stock screener is saving time searching for stocks that meet your specific criteria. Day traders can use them to find stocks that are volatile and meet specific criteria too, but free stock screeners usually don’t have up to the minute results.

What are Other Stock Screeners Available?

If Finviz isn’t your cup of tea, or you’d rather try something a little bit different, there are a handful of free stock screeners available.

  • TradingView – Trading view offers real-time stocks data, but it is a little bit more challenging to use than Finviz. It focuses on price action rather than fundamental data, which makes it better for day and swing traders.
  • Zacks– This stock market screener has several unique features, but most of them are reserved for their premium subscribers. Zacks assigns its own internal scores to stocks it shows and ranks them accordingly.
  • StockFetcher – This stock screener is focused mainly on technical analysis. Screens can be filled with several technical indicators you want to watch at once, and the watchlist is always available.

Image Credits: Stocks from Travis Wolfe/Shutterstock

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