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Best Free Stock Screeners

Finding which stocks are the best addition to your portfolio is challenging. With so many companies on the market, it's difficult to find and select a good stock. While information on the web is abundant and useful, sometimes it can be overwhelming. This is where stock screeners come in. Stock screeners use filters to select stock that fits a profile you specify. This way, you weed out the stocks you're not interested in and zero in on the ones that fit your investing strategy.

A stock screener helps you narrow down the number of available stocks by focusing on quantifiable measures. You can filter stocks by revenue, volatility and profit margin as well as ratios such as debt to equity or price to earnings. You can also use a screener to search for stocks within specific industries.

The lists generated by stock screeners are educational only. Use them as a starting point in your research. Stock screeners are a necessary tool for getting started, but you still need do your research and select the best stock for you based on available information.

Stock screeners are available through trading websites and other platforms. Below are seven free stock screeners and a rundown of what each can do for you:

Yahoo Finance Stock Screener
Yahoo Finance is a good place to start your investment research. The finance home page has detailed information about the stock market, including market news and live streams of current market conditions on the Dow, Nasdaq and Standard & Poor's 500 index. It also lists current gold and oil values and the value of the dollar against the euro.

Once you've brushed up on the market's current state, you can further narrow your stock search by category and index membership. Further tighten your search by inputting exact share data you are looking for such as minimum and maximum prices and dividend percentages. You can also filter sales, valuation ratios and growth estimates. Once you've set the filters to your specifications, simply click the Find Stocks button to generate the best matches.

In addition to the stock screener, Yahoo Finance includes a bond and fund screener.

Fidelity Stock Screener
Even if you're not a Fidelity customer, you can still use its security and stock screener. This free stock screener is very detailed. Fortunately, it offers a video tutorial. Even though the learning curve is higher than average, it provides important information to pair you with prospective investment opportunities.

In addition to the usual options like price and dividends, Fidelity gives you a list of the most popular search criteria that other investors are using. It also lets you filter options based on company value and growth potential.

Fidelity offers predefined screens covering many categories. Click on one category to see the full list of recommended investments. If you prefer predefined searches, then Fidelity's stock screener is a good choice.

Finviz is full of investing information about the current day's most popular stocks. You can read up-to-date reports on the Dow, Nasdaq and the S&P 500. There is also a list of popular stocks listed with their last posted value, percentage of change and their signal, meaning whether they are a top gainer or loser, oversold, or highly volatile.

The stock screener itself is relatively straightforward. Stocks are listed alphabetically and displayed underneath the filters bar. You can drill down and filter the filters. There are three categories: Descriptive, Fundamental and Technical. Choose one to access the list of filters underneath each option. There is also an All selection that shows every filter on the screener; however, this can be overwhelming, unless you are a well-informed investor. Finviz offers a guided tour video on using its platform.

This in-depth screener puts complete control of various filters in your hands. If you have the knowledge and background to use these tools, Finviz is a powerful option.

MarketWatch Stock Screener
If you aren't familiar with investing or feel overwhelmed by other stock screeners, MarketWatch is a good place to start.

The platform is well organized and easy to navigate. You can filter investment opportunities using a few parameters or all the parameters. Filters are organized into sections, which are clearly labeled. Sections include price, volume, fundamentals, technical, and exchange and industry. MarketWatch provides key data to help you narrow your search for the best investment while also keeping its platform user friendly.

CNBC Stock Screener
CNBC's stock screener offers predefined screens for high dividends, small cap values and steady performers. You can also create a custom screen.

Criteria is separated by nine different categories, including analyst estimates, growth trends, performance history and more. Within these categories, you'll find filters for further narrowing your search. You can select filters from multiple categories at one time.

One useful tool with the CNBC Stock Screener is that you can save your custom screen. If you create a specific search and want to target stock only in a particular area, you can save your searches and access them again and again.

Zacks offers two versions of its stock screeners. There is a free version where you filter stock opportunities based on a 52-week high, market caps, dividend yields, average volume and a few other options. If you upgrade to the paid version, you receive information like Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank. While these extras are useful, the free stock screener offers plenty of functionality to narrow in on the criteria most important for selecting your next investment.

Like other free stock screeners, Zacks provides basic predefined screens and articles about investing. It also offers a free test you can take that evaluates your custom screens and lets you know how profitable they are.

Free stock screeners are a great resource when searching for investments. They help narrow potential assets and give you a place to begin researching the best stock choices for you.