Screening for small and mid cap stocks
A reader recently asked about screening stocks.
My club has a portfolio of large cap stocks. We would like to add some small and mid cap stocks, but don't know how to find them.  We've heard that can help, but I find their criteria hard to figure out. We would like to find  stocks that have made 10% growth in profit in the past 3 years, that are small or mid cap in size. Can you help us?
Yes, screening stocks can look a little formidable at first, but with a little practice you can get the hang of it, and turn out all sorts of candidates fitting all sorts of criteria.
All right, let's take an example using MarketGuide. Set your browser to
When the screen is displayed, click on Screening [green box]. You will then be presented with a bunch of sample screens. Since we are going to build our own, we won't use these. Click on Screen Builder in the green box toward the top of the page.

You will first be asked to enter a title for your report. You could enter something like High Growth - Smaller Cap Stocks. The next box asks you to enter a group. Let's stick with the default of All Stocks.

The next box asks us to choose the columns for the report. To see the available choices click on Column Selection Panel. You can double click on the columns that you want. You won't be able to see that they have been selected until you leave that screen. For our example, lets double click on Tkr, Description, MktCap, Revenues, EpsGrth5Yr, and ActGrth5Yr.

Now you have to pick a column on which to sort. You could pick EpsGrth5Yr Descending in order to show the highest estimated 5 year growth rates first, but let's just sort on the Ticker for this  example. Enter tkr(A). The (A) means that the ticker symbols will be sorted in ascending order.

Now we have to select our criteria for the screen. We could go back to the Selection Panel, but since we have listed the columns that we want to see, it probably is easier to just type them in. Type in the following:
EPSGrth5Yr>15 and mktcap<5000 and mktcap>500

Translated, this means those stocks with EPS 5 Year Growth Rates more than 15% and a Market Cap between 500,000,000 and 5,000,000,000.

Click on create a report. This will give you a lot more companies that you probably want to look at. You can add more criteria to cut down your selection. You can put limits on the p/e. You can make the growth rates higher.

This, of course, is not meant to be a complete treatise on screening stocks. I do hope, however, that it will be of help in getting started on this important aspect of investing.

Rip West
Saint Paul, MN