There are a number of internet tools available for researching options quotes. One of the biggest difficulties that come with investing in options is choosing the right options to invest in. There is no universal method for choosing quality investments. Part of the reason for this is the fact that there are too many investments that have to be considered. Since the United States market is very large and relatively liquid, most screeners are targeted at U.S. exchange traded equity options.
Options are generally highly liquid. Their market prices can change very rapidly. Also, there can be a very large number of options in the market, so it can be very difficult to choose between them. In October 2006, there were 185,000 individual equity options contracts. They were written on about 3000 underlying stocks. These stocks are listed on the various United State options exchanges. Almost all of those contracts are listed on multiple exchanges. This means that there are almost 1,000,000 different options prices. Moreover, these prices all change in real time.
The size of the market means the ability to screen options according to various criteria is highly useful for anyone interested in investing in options. Screeners list ideal options based on what the trader feels to be important. Screeners can filter according to: option expiration, historic volatility, implied volatility, open interest, option price, p/e ratio, put/call ratio, share price, stock exchange, strike price and volume.
An options screener generates a list of potential trading ideas. Screeners evaluate options based on various criteria. Options screeners allow you to really see the nuts and bolts underlying your investment, and compare them to other possible investments. Answer these basic questions before using a stock screener:
- Do you want to invest in value or growth stocks?
- Do you want to invest in small caps or larger firms that issue dividends?
- Do you want to invest in foreign issue?
Get an Idea of the General Market
Besides screening for individual stocks, you should also keep up to date on overall market trends. This will give you a better idea of how your investment or potential investment is faring in the overall scheme of things. Listen to television business reports or use websites like yahoo finance to keep up to date, and use a wide cross section of sources to avoid biased reporting.
Stock Screeners Available For Free On the Internet
The screeners usually have a full database. They should also contain the relative and absolute information of each company, as well as detailed sales figures. Some of these screeners are easy to use while others are more difficult. Popular stock screeners available over the internet are: