No surprises here, but a good overview of some free stock screening tools.
No free screener does the best job for every conceivable search. MSN Deluxe might offer the best chance over all but some of the others may do a better job depending on the search parameters specified. And it is quite possible for the same search criteria inputted into different screeners to return dissimilar lists of companies.
“Screeners seem like great tools for finding errors in databases,” quips Michael James Weiner, who writes the Michael James on Investing blog. While this may be a lesser problem for subscription-based screeners and the better free screeners, Mr. Weiner’s reservations do highlight the issue of data quality and timeliness. Another caveat, as Investopedia.com notes, is the inability of screeners to sort on the basis of intangible variables (e.g. the value of a brand name).