STOCK INVESTOR PRO > August 2010

Exploring New Features and Functions

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Over the last few months, we have added some new features to Stock Investor Pro. In this installment of Stock Investor News, we outline this new functionality with illustrations for use.

Data Views

Stock Investor Pro

Stock Investor contains several hundred data fields for each company in its database. Many users, however, are concerned with only a fraction of those fields. Instead of looking through the various Notebook tabs for the data that interests you, you can streamline the process by creating a view.

A view is a collection of data points that can be applied to the active set of companies in the stock notebook to view on your computer screen. Views can also be used to generate statistical summary reports, to print reports or to export select data for a group of companies. There are 20 predefined views that come with Stock Investor, each containing data from one of the major data categories in the program—Multiples, Ratios, Valuations, etc. The views that come with Stock Investor are designated by an asterisk (*) before the view name.

Creating Views-on-the-Fly

Many users like to create views that correspond with screens they have created. To streamline the process of creating views with the data fields of a particular screen, we have recently added a “View-on-the-Fly” feature to the Screen Editor.

Figure 1 is the Screen Editor from Stock Investor Pro with the pre-defined *Neff, John screen loaded. Previously, if you had wanted to create a view with the data fields that make up this screen, you would have had to first open the View Editor and then select the desired fields from the field picker. This method required you to know the data category of each of the fields you wanted to add to the view and is a laborious process if you are unfamiliar with the data structure of the program. (For a step-by-step description of how to create a view from scratch, see the May 2009 issue of Stock Investor News, which is available at the SI News Archive of the Stock Investor Pro section of AAII.com.)

Figure 1.
A “Make View”
command has been
added to the Screen Editor.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

With the new “View-on-the-Fly” function, Stock Investor will automatically populate a new view with all of the fields you use in a screen. Referring back to Figure 1, you can see that there is now a “Make View” button at the bottom of the Screen Editor window. Once you have created your screen or loaded an existing screen into the Screen Editor, click on this button to create the view. Once you click on the “Make View” button in the Screen Editor, the Screen Editor will open (Figure 2). All of the data fields that are used in the *Neff, Screen are automatically added to the view (Figure 2). In addition, company name and ticker will always be added to any view you create in this way.

Figure 2.
Views created from within
the Screen Editor include all
the screen’s data fields
plus company name and ticker.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

You can drag fields up and down the list on the right side of the View Editor to change the order of the fields in the view. Note that the order in which the data fields appear in the View Editor is also the order in which they will appear on the Stock Notebook as well as in View Reports, and when exporting data.

You can delete fields from the view or add additional fields by selecting them from the fields picker on the left side of the editor window and then clicking on the Add > button in the middle of the editor window. Once you have the view configured as you want it, you can save it by clicking on the Save As button. You can then name the view, in this example Neff View, and provide an optional description (Figure 3). When you are finished, click the Close button at the bottom of the editor window to exit out of the View Editor.

Figure 3.
Clicking “Save As” from
the View Editor allows you to
name the view and enter a description.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

Applying a View to the Stock Notebook

The Standard View is the default view in Stock Investor and is always the view applied to the Stock Notebook when you first open the program. You can also apply different views to the Stock Notebook. To apply a view, click on the View drop-down menu on the toolbar at the top of the program window to reveal the list of saved views in the program. The views whose names begin with an asterisk (*) are those that come with the program.

Selecting the Neff View that we created with the Screen Editor’s “Make View” function displays the data fields in the view for those firms in the current Stock Notebook—in this case, the 28 companies that pass the *Neff, John screen as of July 23, 2010 (Figure 4).

Figure 4.
Selecting the Neff View
from the View drop-down box
applies the view to the current Stock Notebook.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

Statistical Summary Reports

Stock Investor offers users a variety of reports for manipulating and analyzing data. One type of report is a statistical summary report. A statistical summary report allows you to calculate summary statistics for a collection of data fields on a defined set of companies.

You can create a statistical summary report on the entire universe of companies, the companies that pass an applied screen, or the companies in a loaded portfolio. These reports calculate the average, median, high, low and standard deviation values for the data fields in a specified view based on the active set of companies in the Stock Notebook.

Figure 5.
Access the Available Reports
by selecting Print from the File menu.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

For example, we want to print a statistical summary report with a view we created called Neff View for the Neff passing companies. Choose Print from the File menu to bring up the Available Reports (Figure 5) and select Statistical Summary – Active Notebook.

Click Print and then select the view you wish to print. Click the Ok button to generate the report (Figure 6). From this report we can see, among other things, that the median five-year sales growth rate for the 28 companies passing the *Neff, John screen as of July 23, 2010, is 13.7% and that the median estimated earnings growth rate is 15.0%.

Figure 6.
When printing, the Available Reports
menu allows you to select a statistical
summary for stocks in the Active Notebook.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

Sector and Industry Median Report

Sector and industry median reports are similar to statistical summary reports in that they present median data on a specific industry or sector. However, these reports are predefined and you cannot customize the information contained in them.

From the Available Reports window in Stock Investor, select the Industry Medians report. Choose the Sectors or Industries button and then select the industry or sector on which you wish to run the report from the list. The two-page reports contain median values for the industry or sector for select multiples, growth rates, earnings estimate ratios, financial statement items, and share statistics data. Figure 7 shows a portion of the median report for the auto and truck manufacturers industry.

Figure 7.
Median data for a sector
or industry can also be printed
through the Available Reports menu.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

New Statistical Summary Report—One Field by Industry

The newest Statistical Summary Report is a sort of cross between the typical statistical summary report and the industry/sector median report. Referring back to Figure 5, the Available Reports window from Stock Investor, you will see the Statistical Summary – One Field by Industry report. This report allows you to generate summary statistics for a single field for all of the sectors or industries in the program.

Figure 8.
The Statistical Summary –
One Field by Industry allows you
to choose a single data field for the report.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

Selecting the Statistical Summary – One Field by Industry report opens the Field Statistical Summary Report window in Figure 8 where you can click the “Select Field…” button to choose the field for the report (from within the data categories) as well as either sector or industry. For example, we would like to see the 13-week relative strength data for all of the industries in Stock Investor. Therefore, we select Relative Strength 13 week from the Price and Share Statistics data category in the field picker (you must double-click on the desired data field for this report), click the radio button to the left of Industries, and then click Ok.

Figure 9.
Compare medians and averages
across all industries (or sectors)
for a single data field.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO
SEE FULL SIZE.

Figure 9 is a portion of the Statistical Summary – One Field by Industry report generated by Stock Investor. From it, we can see that the typical company in the gold & silver industry underperformed the S&P 500 index by 9% over the last 13 weeks.