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Your Triple Threat: Screeners, Watch Lists and Alerts

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December 30, 2016
Triple Threat-Counting to Three
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In Hollywood, a “triple-threat” is a performer who can not only act, but sing and dance as well. In basketball, it’s a player that is equally adept at passing, dribbling, and shooting. In both situations, it’s the combination of skills that offers an advantage.

On the TD Ameritrade platform, you may seek an advantage by combining three standalone tools, Screeners, Watch Lists, and Alerts—each useful in its own right—into a potential trade candidate generator.

But before we discuss how this triple-threat works, let’s first look at stocks from a different perspective; let’s look at them as if they are leads. In sales, a lead is the gateway to a deal, and for the salesman, the key to achieving an objective. When you are looking at leads, you want the very best ones, the ones that give you the greatest chance of a good payoff: The Glengarry leads.

But the market is filled with many leads—thousands of equities, funds, derivative instruments etc.—and some may be better than others in terms of serving your objectives. By combining the Screener, Watch List and Alerts tools, you can create a funnel into which you can monitor all these potential leads and filter them down to just the ones that fit your trading or investing criteria.

Let’s start with the Screener tool: It conveniently allows you to set the parameters you are looking for in a stock and there are nine categories to choose from. Each category has a sub-menu to help you fine-tune your search results.

For example, suppose you’re interested in tracking NYSE listed stocks that hit a growth target between 15-25% last quarter and are trading above their 52 week high, such as shown in figure 1.

Stock Screener

FIGURE 1: TD AMERITRADE STOCK SCREENER.

Screen potential trades or investments by a number of criteria. Log in to your account and click Research & Ideas > Screeners > Stocks > Create a Screen. Source:  tdameritrade.com. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

This allows you to narrow down the universe of stocks into a more manageable list (10 in this example). And then it’s time to bring in the second tool: The Watch List.

Watch List

FIGURE 2: TD AMERITRADE WATCH LIST.

By using the watch list you can easily keep track and monitor certain stocks. Checking off symbols and clicking the “Add to watch list button” makes keeping track and monitoring your newly found stocks easy. Source:  tdameritrade.com.  For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

You can easily save in your Watch List any stocks you are interested in keeping an eye on. Just select the symbols you want and add them to a list so you can continue to monitor them. Clicking any symbol gives you quick access to fundamental data, performance metrics, ratings and risk profile, as well as advanced charting. It’s here that you can identify potential trigger points to initiate a position, and once you have decided upon a strategy, you can bring in the last of the three: The Alerts tool.

Let’s say there’s a stock in your Watch List and you have identified a support area 5% below where it’s currently trading. If you were interested in buying shares on a pullback to that level, you could set up an alert to notify you via text or email if the stock trades at a predefined price. The Alerts tool can help you eliminate much of the noise in the market—the things that may cause you to lose focus.

Set Alerts

FIGURE 3: WATCH LISTS AND ALERTS.

You can research an individual stock from the list by going to the Stock Profile section. There you can set an alert on that particular stock. Alerts can be set by clicking the “Set alerts” link just under the green “buy” button above. Source:  tdameritrade.com. For illustrative purposes only. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Combining these three tools is not only powerful, but also flexible, in that many types of traders and investors–long-term, short-term, active and passive alike can use them. Whether you’re a day trader looking for technical triggers or an investor interested in fundamental factors, you can create the filters you want to give you the best leads, save the results in individual lists and be alerted to potential trades when specific criteria are triggered.

Using this “triple-threat” for lead management can save you time and hassle and help you more efficiently reach your objectives.