For dividend investors, buying and holding dividend paying stocks, I’d argue stock screening tools are not an absolute necessity. A bold statement I know. Why do I feel that way?
Well, first of all, established dividend-paying companies are well-known and have great brands. You know what these companies provide in terms of products and services. These companies are not “hot stocks” or companies people “tip” around the water cooler. There are probably less than 50 of these great companies in Canada; ones that have a long history of paying and raising dividends over time. Secondly, you can find many investment metrics on the companies’ website. Most quality companies have a quality investor relations website. Stock price, stock split and dividend histories are easy to find and review. Thirdly, even if all the metrics you’re looking for are not on the investor relations page, everything you need to know about that company should be described in their annual report. If you’re like me, you’ll read the companies’ latest annual report before investing in a company but that can be time consuming (and sometimes a little boring).
However, beyond one, two or three above, you might want to go beyond what any glossy annual report says and use some common screens or customized ones to decide whether a company is worth buying or not. Although my list is brief, here are my favourite free stock screening tools:
For me and the research I do on Canadian dividend-paying stocks, this one has everything. I can add or subtract criteria as I need it and it is very user-friendly.
I’m a big fan of Norm Rothery even though I’m not a value-investor. He produces “The Rothery Report” for investors who want to focus on deep-value stocks in both Canada and the U.S. However, I don’t visit Norm’s site for his report (sorry Norm). Instead, I use his “Screen” tab so I can sort either the TSX 60 or DJIA 30 stocks. I’m buyer and holder of primarily big blue-chip companies that pay me to be a shareholder so these screens are quite helpful. What I helpful about this site are companies Norm feels the dividends are at risk.
Do you use any stock screeners for your research?
If so, what are your favourites?
My Own Advisor
Thanks to gibor, a reader and frequent site contributor for requesting this post.