pftq's Stocks and Investing

Trading Guide

Tech Trader

July 23rd, 2011 PST
Posted by pftq

4. Finding Stocks

     Right now, if you were given a stock symbol and its chart, you should be able to get an idea of whether or not you want to buy it - but how do you get the stock to read in the first place?

     What you want to use is what's called a stock screener.  You can think of it as a search engine for stocks.  The criteria you set can range from the mere exchange the stock trades on (NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, etc) to the price and volume of a stock at any given time frame.  From here, you should be able to realize that all the indicators you learned previously can just be plugged into the screener and the matching stocks returned.

Again, using TD Ameritrade, the stock screener can be found by going to:
     Research > Stock Screeners

     This is one of the areas TDA probably shines best, in my opinion.  The criteria you can search by is just about anything you've learned.  Hovering over the symbol names in the results list will also give you a preview of the stock's chart, making it easy to skim through entire lists of stocks in one go.

     The main challenge here is that you want to strike a balance between filtering and returning too many stocks.  While you can plug in the criteria for the "perfect" stock in your mind, very rarely will there be a stock that matches these ideal characteristics.  The best way to go about it is to just play around with the settings until you find a setup you can use consistently - then save it to reuse again and again.

The below, for example, is one I use to watch for potential breakouts:
- Price Change = +5% in last trading session
- Volume vs Average = Very Heavy
- Volume Range > 1,000,000
- Current Price between $.001 and $10 (too high and you wait months for 5%)

     Just remember that you want to find stocks that have a history of following the patterns and indicators you learned.  There will be a lot of stocks that are entirely unpredictable, but again, why take the risk when you can get consistent profit predicting nicer stocks?

(Ideally what you want your stocks to look like)
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skymint513 says...

"why take the risk when you can get consistent profit predicting nicer stocks?"
^ Makes sense.

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