Ask Colin

Where can I get the data to do the fundamental scan you describe in your articles and videotapes?

The primary method is to use the Monday edition of the Australian Financial Review. It is very up-to-date (no more than a week after announcements are made) and it takes me about an hour to scan. I use an overline pen to mark all the PEs that pass the scan. Then check those for Dividend Yields that pass the test. Finally, check those for P/NABs that pass the scan. It is easy with a card or envelope to run down the industrial shares columns.

If you are a subscriber to the Australian Financial Review, it is now possible to download the shares table in an Excel spreadsheet. This makes the task so much easier, because you can use the Sort function to perform the scan.

The manual scan can be done with the Tables section of Shares magazine, though it is a bit less convenient. You can also check debt to equity in Shares.

You can also do it with Insight Trader charting software, so long as you have the Systems Module and take the Database Manager service. This is my secondary method. The main problem is that it is not up-to-date most of the time.

There is some new software out called Sherpa that will let you do scans and the data will be as up to date as the newspaper. I have not tested it. See http://www.investorsadvantage.com.au.

Other possibilities are www.Sharefinder.com.au, and www.conscious-investor.com, but I am not sure whether they will let you define your own scan. This is definitely a problem with StockDoctor, which is very good, but you have to use their parameters for the scan.

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