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With the Research Wizard, you can screen for stocks using an itemís present value or even its value from a previous time period.

But did you know you can also screen for a stockís value during a range of periods too?

You can.

For example: letís say you wanted to find stocks that had a Zacks #1 Rank for every week for the last 5 weeks. You can set this up using only one parameter line.

Or, letís say instead, you were interested in finding any company that had a Zacks #1 Rank in any period over the last 5 weeks. Or letís say a Positive Earnings Surprise in any period over the last 8 Quarters for example. Most screeners would not be able to process a query like this. And if they could, itíd take many, many lines of instruction. However, in the Research Wizard, you can screen for this with only one parameter line.

Letís first review some basic screening concepts.

Letís use the Zacks Rank for this example and letís find stocks with a Zacks #1 Rank.

  1. In the Categories Window, select Ratings and then the Sub-Category Current.

  2. In the Items Window, select the Zacks Rank under Company Ratings.

    Then double-click the item with your left mouse and the Screen By Window will pop up.

    hsb1_2

  3. Drop down the Operator Box and select the Ď=í (equal to) operator. And then in the box off to the right, type in the number 1. If you did it correctly, itíll look like the image below.

    hsb1_3

  4. Click OK and that parameter is complete.

Now letís say you wanted to do a simple time lag or historical search. Letís continue with this example.

Repeat the first two steps from above:

  1. In the Categories Window, select Ratings and then the Sub-Category Current.

  2. In the Items Window, select the Zacks Rank under Company Ratings.

    Then double-click the item with your left mouse and the Screen By Window will pop up.

    hsb2_2

  3. Next, drop down the ĎRecentí drop down box in the lower left corner of the Screen By Window and select Recent-nW. (See below.)

    hsb2_3

  4. Once the Recent-nW is selected, do the following:

    • Click once in the Recent-nW drop-down box

      The box turns white and you see a blinking cursor.

    • Delete the Ď n Ď and replace it with the number Ď 1 Ď.

      If completed correctly, it should read ĎRecent-1Wí. (See below.)
      hsb2_4a

      Note: The Recent-nW (e.g., Recent-1W) is a reference to the number of periods and the frequency or interval of the periods to choose fromfor the specified item within the selected database. W = Weekly, Q = Quarterly, Y = Yearly, etc.) Recent-1W means itís looking at one period before the most recent or current period (i.e., 1 Week before the Recent period).

      For the Zacks Rank item within the DBCM database, thereís 5 periods (5 Weeks to choose from). This can be seen by looking at the Item Description in the Items Window.

      hsb2_4b

  5. To complete this screen, drop down the drop-down Operator box and select† the Ď=í (equal to) operator. And then, in the box to the right, type in the number 1.

    If you did it correctly, itíll look like the image below.

    hsb2_5

  6. Click OK and your screen is complete.

    Youíve just successfully said: show me stocks with a current Zacks Rank of a #1 and that were also Ranked a #1 last week as well.

If however, you wanted to find stocks Ranked a #1 for letís say 3 weeks or 4 weeks or 5 weeks for example, you would have to add line after line of instruction OR you could use the Historical Search box.

Letís take a look at an example.

First, letís clear the last examples by going to the Garbage Can icon (Clear Criteria Icon) on the Tool Bar.

hsb3

Letís say you want to find stocks with a Zacks #1 Rank for every week over the last 5 weeks.

Repeat the first two steps from above:

  1. In the Categories Window, select Ratings and then the Sub-Category Current.

  2. In the Items Window, select the Zacks Rank under Company Ratings.

    Then double-click the item with your left mouse and the Screen By Window will pop up.

    hsb4_2

  3. This time, select the Historical Search box in the lower left corner of the Screen By Window.

    Once you do, youíll notice two additional drop-down boxes will be displayed.

    hsb4_3

  4. In the first ĎTodayí box:

    • Drop it down (and then scroll up a bit) and select the Recent iteration.

  5. In the second box labeled ĎToday-4Wí:

    • Drop it down and select the Recent-nW iteration

      Delete the Ď n Ď and replace it with the number Ď 4 Ď. (This means 4 weeks prior to the recent period (i.e., recent week).

    • In the last box labeled ĎEveryí, weíll keep that selection.

      If you did it correctly, itíll look like the image below.

    hsb4_5

    Note: The Historical Search boxes were originally populated with the ĎTodayí iteration before we switched them to ĎRecentí. Using today is fine. However, today will produce the first available value (i.e., most up to date value) for the specified item, but will also produce an N/A if no value is available.

    For example: letís say itís the beginning of the second quarter (April 1st) and a company hasnít reported on the first quarter yet (period ending March 31st). The Today iteration would produce an N/A value. Why? Because the most recently completed Quarterís earnings arenít available yet because they havenít yet reported them. However, if you instead chose the Recent iteration, itíd skip the period that hasnít yet reported and present the value for the most recently available/reported period (that is the most up to date period), which would be the period ending Dec. 31st (i.e., the fourth quarter).

    In short, the Recent iteration returns the most up to date value and excludes N/As.

    The Today iteration returns the most up to date value but includes N/As when present.

    Additional Note: You could also choose a hard date from the Historical Search boxes as well. For example: 01/30/2009 or 01/23/2009. But again, those are hard dates and if you save your screen, even if you run it several months later, itíll still try an access those specific dates. However, by using the Recent iterations (i.e., Recent-nX), itíll automatically move forward as time moves forward. Which means Recent will always be the recent period. And Recent-nX would always be the period just prior to the Recent period. This of course eliminates the need for changing the dates each time you run the screen.

  6. So, continuing with this example, letís finish this item.

    Drop down the drop-down operator box and select the Ď=í (equal to) operator. And in the box to the right, type in the number 1.

    The Screen By Window should now look like this (below).

    hsb4_6

  7. Click OK, and the item is complete. Hereís how itíll look in the Screening Criteria table.

    hsb4_7

    Tip: While this screen and report will show only those companies with a Zacks Rank of a 1 for every week for the last 5 weeks, the current report will only display one week.

If you want to see all five weeks in the report, follow the steps below.

  1. Go to Report on your Menu Bar and select Clear Report Definition.

    hsb5_1

    This will clear the current report in the Report Definition table.

  2. Next, go to Rating in the Categories Window, and select the Current Sub-Category.

  3. This time, right-click it once with your right mouse button and then a Menu will appear. Select Add Database Item to Report when it does.

    hsb5_3

  4. The Report Column Window will then pop up.

    hsb5_4a

    Select the History box and youíll see another drop-down box appears.

    hsb5_4b

  5. Drop the first drop-down box down and select the Recent iteration.

    Then, drop the second drop-down box down and select the Recent-nW iteration. Once selected, click in the Recent-nW box and delete the Ďní and type in the number Ď4í. The iteration should now read: Recent-4W.

    If you did them both correctly, itíll look like the image below.

    hsb5_5

  6. Click OK and the items will dump into your Report Definition table.

    hsb5_6

  7. When you then hit Run Query hsb5_7a the report will now display all 5 weeks of the Zacks Rank.

    hsb5_7b

    Pretty cool.

Now letís say you want to do something different.

Instead of finding a certain value in EVERY period over a period range, letís say you want to find companies with a certain value in ANY period within a period range.

For this example, letís find companies that have had a Zacks #1 Rank in ANY period over the last 5 weeks.

Before we begin, letís first clear the Screening Criteria table by going to:

  • Screen on your Menu Bar and selecting Clear Criteria.

    hsb6

    This will clear out the current Screening Criteria, but not the Report.

Letís begin by repeating the same two steps we did in the previous examples.

  1. In the Categories Window, select Ratings and then the Sub-Category Current.

  2. In the Items Window, select the Zacks Rank under Company Ratings.

  3. Then double-click the item with your left mouse and the Screen By Window will pop up.

    hsb7_3

  4. Select the Historical Search box and once again, youíll see two more boxes displayed.

    hsb7_4

  5. Select the first box populated with Today and drop it down and change it to Recent.

  6. Next, select the box populated with Today-4W and drop it down and change it to Recent-nW. (Then change that to read: Recent-4W.)

  7. Then, select the Every box and drop it down and choose the Any iteration.

    If you did it correctly, it should look like the image below.

    hsb7_7

  8. Then drop down the drop-down Operator box and select the Ď = í (equal to) operator. Then in the box to the right, type in the number 1.

    The completed Screen By Window should now look like this.

    hsb7_8

  9. Click OK and the item will now dump into your Screening Criteria table.

    hsb7_9a

    You should still have the customized report in the Report Definition table as well from the previous example. If not, go back and add that.

    Now when you run your screen/report, itíll produce any company that had a Zacks #1 Rank within the last 5 week.

    hsb7_9b

    Note: The N/As in this report (DFZ or CRRC for example) signify that these companies did not have a Zacks Rank in the previous weeks. In other words, these are newly Ranked stocks by Zacks and they also happen to match the screening criteria of being Ranked a #1 at any time within the last 5 weeks.

    Very Cool.

Summary

Try using the Historical Search feature in your own screens today.

And remember:

  • If you select Every, that means the stocks have to meet your conditions for that item in every period within that period/date range. If even one period doesnít qualify, that stock will not make it through your screen.

  • If you select Any, that means as long as your conditions are met for that item in any one of the periods within that period/date range, those stocks will come through.

How could you use this item in your stock picking
process? Give it a try and see


We welcome your feedback! If you have questions or an idea you'd like to see us demonstrate here, we'll show this in the next letter. Send your comments to: RWmailbag@zacks.com