So you’re ready to find that next great investment? Well you’re on the way there simply viewing this post. Far to often I hear about traders jumping onto that hot stock everyone’s talking about only to have it fall soon after. I know this, because that use to be me! Certainly painful to watch money just disappear. However, there is a much better way and its built right inside the platform you’re likely already using. Yes, the ThinkorSwim scanner can scan the universe of stocks, etfs, futures, options, or even specific options spreads. All you have to do is know what you want and know how to implement it within the platform. This post will help you with the later and I’ll show you a few secrets I’ve learned over the years.
First things First
You must have a TD Amertrade Account. If you don’t simply click that link and head over to open an account free of charge. I’ve been with them for years and have never had one complaint. I have however, had hundreds of questions and their customer service or trade desk team has been willing to answer all of them. No matter how silly the question. Once you have an account setup (funded or not) and your inside, hover over “Trade” and under the “Trading Platforms” heading select ThinkorSwim to download the platform.
Down To Business – ThinkorSwim Scanner Settings
With ThinkorSwim opened on your computer navigate to the “Scan” tab in the top most ribbon. The ThinkorSwim scanner will save you valuable time finding an investment vehicle worthy of your precious capital. With the scanner open lets discuss some general criteria I think would be useful for any scan. Without knowing your specific goals or experience it would be impossible to create a scan capable of meeting your needs exactly. So, for the sake of this post I’ll create a scan I believe will return a viable long term investment opportunity.
I’ll set the ThinkorSwim scanner settings to the following; (See Image below)
- Last Price – Under 50$ per share
- EPS – Positive Earnings per share
- Dividend Yield (Current) – 7% Dividend Yield
- Positive Free Cash Flow
- Free Cash Flow Per Share (YoY% Annual) – Positive Free Cash Flow
- Average Volume – Above 1 million Average volume
Step 1 – Select Scanner Criteria
Now that we’ve identified what we want Thinkorswim to scan for lets plug it into the appropriate field. I’ve listed the criteria just above so I won’t restate it here. Simply navigate to the “Add Filter” menu to the far right of the screen. To account for the 5 criteria we wish to apply select the following, in this order. Stock, Stock, Fundamental, Fundamental, Study.
Step 2 – Enter Specific Criteria
- In the first “Stock” field select “Last” from the drop down menu. Then move across to the “max:” cell and enter $50.
- In the next “Stock” field select “EPS” from the drop down. In the “min:” cell and enter 1
- In the first “Fundam.” field select “Dividend Yield”. In the neighboring drop down select “Current”. In the “min:” cell enter 7
- In the next “Fundam.” field select “Free Cash Flow Per share”. In the neighboring drop down select “YoY%(Annual)”. In the “min:” cell enter 1.
- In the final “Study” field select “Average_Volume”. Enter the criteria to match the following; The “200” period “Simple” moving average of the Volume is “greater than” “1000000” – Day Setting (Located to far right of this field, notated by capital “D”)
- Click the green Scan button.
That’s all there is to it! We’ve just scanned thousands of stocks to find a select list of companies capable of meeting the criteria you’ve determined, or more appropriately in this instance, I determined. In any case, we can now begin to evaluate the companies listed for a proper fit within our portfolio.
Your screen should look like the image below. You’ll notice I’ve already selected the criteria discussed above and adjusted the scanner settings to filter for the desired data.
Step 3 – Evaluate Scan Results
Now that we’ve found a list of stocks that match our unique criteria we can start to drill down to the perfect match for our portfolio. The easiest way to do that is to click the middle hamburger menu at the top right of the screen and select “Save scan query”. Give it a name you’ll remember. Once saved we can view our list of selected stocks from a watchlist. What’s more, the list will forever update in that watchlist as companies move in and out of our selected scan criteria.
Well that about sums it up! We’ve just walked through creating our first scan and saving it to be viewed in a watchlist for constant review.
The logical next step would be to open the watchlist in the left pane quick view area. To do that, navigate to the “+” simple at the bottom left of the screen and select “Watchlist”. Select the top (of that pane) drop down menu, hover over personal, and select the name you entered when saving the scan. Now, Select the link icon just to the right and attribute a specific color to the list. Finally, navigate to the “Charts” tab located in the top most ribbon. Just next to the field you would typically enter a ticker symbol click the link icon and select the color you set for the watchlist. That will allow you to quickly click on each of the stocks and view their chart or any of the wealth of information within ThinkorSwim.
For a quick view at the steps above these images should help.
ThinkorSwim Scanner – Swing Trade Criteria
So you’ve tackled your first scan but that’s just not going to be enough, is it? After viewing the list of companies above you’ve decided you’ll need more action right now! Thus, the idea of using the scanner to find potential swing trading candidates becomes more appealing. To do that here is a quick list of criteria I’ve used to do just that throughout my own trading career.
Again, without knowing your specific level of knowledge or risk tolerance the following is merely what I’ve used and isn’t intended to be investment advice. You should ALWAYS do your own research and consult qualified professional prior to trading or investing.
ThinkorSwim Swing Trading Scan Criteria
- Stock – “Last” – Min= “Blank” – Max = $50
- Stock – “Volume” – Min = 300,000 – Max = “Blank“
- Stock – “% Change” – Min = “-1%” – Max = “Blank“
- Stock – “Shares” – Min = “Blank” – Max = “300,000”
There you have it, a quick list of stocks with low float and the ability to move quickly in the right market environment. That still not enough? Maybe now you’re ready for day trading. Let’s take a look below at scanning ThinkorSwim for gapping stocks.
ThinkorSwim Gap Scanner Criteria
Disclaimer: Always do your own research prior to trading or investing. The following is not a solicitation to buy or sell any security or place any trade. This scan isn’t intended to qualify you for day trading.
ThinkorSwim Day Trading Scan – Gap Up Criteria
This scan works best when used just before market open. During the pre market trading period.
- Stock – “Last” – Min: “$50” – Max: “$10000”
- Stock – “Volume” – Min: “10000000” – Max: “200000000”
- Study – “Price_Change” “Close” is at least “4.0” % “greater” than “1” bars ago – Daily chart setting
Alright, you’re officially a ThinkorSwim Scanner, level – Expert! Only kidding, you’ll likely have much more to learn in order to take full advantage of this tool within the platform. Learning the steps discussed here is just the first step to finding more and more accurate scans, capable of meeting every different trading need. With the ability to scan the entire investment universe in a few mouse clicks it almost seems to easy to be true.
In reality, the more you study and the more time you spend assessing the financial markets, the more your skills will be refined and the more accurate your scans will become. Matching what you see happening in the real world with what the charts are showing will help you generate some questions to ask yourself when you sit down to make your next scan.
Tools to take your Trading to the Next Level
Now that you’re a ThinkorSwim Scanning expert. The next step is to accurately track and monitor each and every trade to continue your growth as a trader or investor. To do that fast and without the recurring charge of other platforms. Take a look at this one of a kind tool designed to keep you up to date on everything happening within your trading accounts.