Picking the right stocks is at the core of being a successful investor. With over 10,000 stocks listed on US exchanges alone, there’s always a chance you might be missing opportunities ‘coz you’re not looking hard enough. Different investors have different approaches to identifying stocks, but the best investors have a streamlined workflow and they value their workflow more than the stocks they invest in. Seasoned investors have the ability to look at the entire universe of stocks from such perspectives. Different investors have different methods, here’s one process that many find useful:

1. Pick your favorite … parameters: Some people like to start with fundamental values that define a company, some start by looking at sectors or themes they are comfortable with while some just see what’s trading in high volumes or likely to be moving fastest. Choice of each such parameter is dependent on the investing style and frequency but most investors agree that having a favorite starting place makes it easy as your trading day is starting.

2. Follow-on with secondary preferences: If you started by looking at a particular sector or industry you should end up with some stocks that are most interesting in that sector – they could be trending on conversation or have high trading volumes or high price movements, or a mix of these. Time to apply filters. If you’ve developed preferences for certain performance parameters or company fundamentals, now would be a good time to slice the data using these. 

3. Look at current prices and recent price movements: Once you’ve narrowed down to just a few potential choices, time to see which stocks are at the point of being the best bets NOW. Some people like to add stocks to a Watchlist and observe them for a few days, some trade straightway (these’re mostly day traders). 

If you are not a seasoned investor yet, developing a process takes some time and practice just watching what works best for you. Starting now would be a good idea, though.

By the way, while we are on the subject, Stockal PRO offers a very clear and direct process to create your own investing research process. You should try it sometime (psst .. now would be a good time while it’s free for a couple more months)! It also includes a powerful categorization mechanism that we’ve used to create over 5000 stock classifications – so in addition to looking for stocks by sector/industry you can just say “Water” or “Trump” or “Oscars”. We’ve also created an interesting new parameter called “Analyst Opinion” which bakes-in the opinions of multiple Wall St firms into a single number that you can track to discover stocks based on what the Street is bullish or bearish about. Plus there’s a LOT more. Click here to go to Stockal wonderland!

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