Adjusting for the Real World: Testing Variations of Piotroski's Screen
The Piotroski screen has been one of AAII’s top-performing screens for a number of years. While the S&P 500 was down 1.0% year-to-date as of February 28, 2010, AAII’s Piotroski screen gained an unbelievable 96.4%. The positive gain can be attributed to two companies: January’s single passing company, J. W. Mays Inc. (MAYS); and February’s single passing company, Highway Holdings Limited (HIHO). As of this writing, no stocks meet the Piotroski criteria.
The Piotroski screen was also the only AAII screen to post a positive gain in 2008 (+32.6%). Each of our benchmark indexes posted a loss that year as well. Since inception, the screen has returned 3,995.9%, the largest cumulative gain in the group.
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While these returns are impressive, consider these statistics: the average number of monthly holdings is four; and since the beginning of 1998, the screen has had 20 months where no companies met the screen criteria. Taking a closer look at 2008, there were five months when no companies passed (August 31, 2008, through the end of 2008). As the S&P 500 fell close to 30% during those five months, this screen was not invested in the market at all.
On paper, Piotroski’s selection strategy looks like a winner, but it is hardly an investable strategy in the real world. For this article, we loosened the criteria used in AAII’s fundamental stock screening and research program, Stock Investor Pro, to see if we could create a more investable strategy using Piotroski’s value investing philosophy.
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