There are thousands of different publicly traded companies offering shares of stock on the market. That makes it daunting to decide which stocks to buy. One way to think about researching the stocks you want to buy is to adopt a well-thought out strategy, like buying growth stocks or buying a portfolio of dividend stocks.
Growth stocks are shares of companies that are seeing rapid, robust gains in profits or revenue. They tend to be relatively young companies with plenty of room to grow, or companies that are serving markets with lots of room for growth. Whether the shares of a growth stock seem expensive or not, investing in growth stocks assumes that continued rapid growth will deliver strong price gains over time.
Value stocks are shares of stock that are priced at a discount and stand to see price gains as the market comes to recognize their true value. With value investing, you’re looking for “shares on sale,” with low price-to-earnings and price-to-book ratios. The aim is to buy stocks that are underpriced and hold on to them over the long term.
Dividend stocks pay out some of their earnings to shareholders in the form of dividends. When you buy dividend stocks, the goal is to achieve a steady stream of income from your investments, whether the prices of your stocks goes up or down. Certain sectors, including utilities and telecommunications, are also more likely to pay dividends.
Use a Stock Screener to Find Stocks to Buy
Whichever strategy you choose, finding the stocks you want to buy can still be challenging. Stock screeners help you narrow down your list of potential stocks to buy and offer an endless range of filters to screen out all the companies that do not meet your parameters. Nearly all online brokerage accounts offer stock screeners, and there are more than a few free versions available online.
With a stock screener, you can filter for small-cap stocks or large-cap stocks or view lists of companies with declining share prices and stocks that are at all-time highs. They also generally let you search for stocks by industry or market sector. Filtering by P/E ratio is a great way to find shares that are overpriced or underpriced.