Scanning Technically

Scan My Fav Lists

We all have "watch / hold" lists and we review those charts periodically, daily or weekly.  When time is short or just as an extra check, let's use the scan engine on our own lists to help focus in on what's important.   We don't always have to scan the entire 50,000 stock universe.

Scan your own lists for:

unusual activity
unusual changes in price, volume
technical indicators (oversold / overbought)
% change or change against a defined index or stock group
order your list by criteria

To scan your own lists, we just need to change the intro criteria on any of our saved or predefined scans.  Use the dropdown menu to select and add your ChartLists.

   [type = Stock]
  and [country is US]

  [favorites list is 118] // Watch ETF

If you want to scan several lists at the same time just join with the "OR" condition.  
 [ [favorites list is 118] or [favorites list is 119]  ]

Note if you include the // list name comment, put each list on a separate line, you could also add an index for reference.

   [favorites list is 118] // Watch ETF
   or [favorites list is 119]   // Hold
   or [Symbol = "$SPX" ]

So now we just need to add the technical criteria, pick one or two and modify as desired, or create your own.

// percent change daily > 2%
and [PctChange(1,close) > 2]

// close 25% greater than SMA 20 average
and [close > SMA(20, close) * 1.25]

// volume 25% greater than SMA 20 average
and [volume > SMA(20, volume) * 1.25 ]

// or both (either one will trigger the scan)
and [[close > SMA(20, close) * 1.25] or [Volume > SMA(20, Volume) * 1.25]]

// overbought
and [RSI(14) > 70 ]

// oversold
and [RSI(14) < 30 ]

// crossover 50 cross 200
and [ SMA(50,Close) X SMA(200,Close) ]

For the last tip, you can scan your own lists for % change against a defined index or stock group, quickly identifying outperforming or underperforming stocks or in your lists.  Here's the 9 industry sectors against the S&P500 with the percent change over the last 50 days.  The output page will give you the summary including the 50 day percent change, then save the list, select "preserve the order" and you can then review the charts in 10/page or CandleGlance in the same order by percent change, rather than the default alphabetical order.

    [favorites list is 20] // = 9 Sectors
    or [ symbol = '$SPX']
  rank by  [PctChange(50,close) ]


The above method can also be used for any indicator but only one at a time, i.e. Rank by [ RSI (14) ]

Hope this gives you some other ideas,

cheers Gord


Appendix: Adding a ChartList (Favorites List) to a scan.

Just use the dropdown menu lists to select your list and insert it into your scan.  You can select any of your lists no matter what the name is, but the scan engine being a computer needs to have consistency of input values, so it uses a number for your list and your list name appears after the // as a comment.   This is because the computer has no way of anticipating what characters or field length a user might incorporate in a list name.

Here's a couple of screen shots on how to use the dropdown menu to insert a list for both the Basic and Advanced Scan interface.

Why Should I Learn Scanning?

Q:  "Why should I learn to use the scan workbench?  I'm not a daytrader, thus I'm not interested in a 50,000 stock universe.  I have my own very focused lists which contain around 200 stocks and I review the charts regularly with my own chart settings.  I know my stocks and their characteristics, I don't need to create huge lists full of stocks I've never heard of. I prefer focus and discipline."

A: I agree we should all find a method we are comfortable with and works for us.  However scanning doesn't have to be a 50,000 stock universe, it could be just your own lists.  There are also many types of scans that are not looking to create new lists but are designed to help you manage your current lists.  To help get you interested in the potential of the scan engine, the following list contains just a few of the alternate uses for the scan engine.

1) Yes, you can scan the entire universe of stocks for particular technical overlay and indicator conditions, or you can limit the scan to just your own lists for the same things.

2) Scan your own lists for unusual activity, when your chart review time is tight, this can be a big help to quickly focus in on what's important.  A simple scan could look for unusual changes in price, volume or any combination of technical indicators.

3) Scan your lists for gaps at the open, or a particular symbol for a price target.  Then place this scan in the Alerts workbench and have the scan run automatically and send you an email or text when the conditions are met.

4) Scan your own lists for % change against a defined index or stock group, quickly identifying outperforming or underperforming stocks in your lists.

5)  Add company names to a new list of symbols you have uploaded.  Many times we create a new list of a particular sector by bulk uploading the symbols, but the list summary page does not have the stock names, just "IBM - Default Style".    If you would rather the summary page show the actual name "International Business Machines (IBM)", this can be accomplished with just a few mouse clicks.

6) Scan to create your own sector or industry lists or run the scan just to find out what stocks are in that group.  You can also restrict the scan to include only stocks with min/max price, liquidity volume, or liquidity dollars (price x volume).  Say you are interested in solar, you could just look at the "Energy" sector and sub industry group "Renewable Energy Equipment"; however, not all stocks are in the groups we think they should be in; in this case FLSR (First Solar Inc) is not in the group.  A simple scan for "name contains solar" would find FLSR and include it in the list even though it's listed under "Technology" sector, sub industry "Electrical Components".

7) Scan to find that secret chart.  We've all received emails with very interesting charts but the stock symbol is blacked out unless we purchase the newsletter.  Well most of us have no interest in the newsletter but might like to review that chart with our own indicators and time frames.  If you can read a single price and a date from the chart, with a simple scan you are only a few mouse clicks away from discovering what the symbol is.

8) Have you ever wanted to scroll through your list in the 10/page or CandleGlance mode and see all of your charts in a particular order automatically?  The default order is alphabetical by symbol, but say you want to review the list in order of the 50 day percent change, RSI (overbought / oversold), etc.  Well again it's just a simple scan, a few mouse clicks and the use of the "rank by" criteria, then saving the list with the preserve order function.

I hope this gets you interested in scanning, stay tuned as we will expand on these subjects with more details in articles to follow.

cheers, happy scanning


SCAN - Q: Why didn't may scan pick this up days sooner?


I have a simple section of a more complicated scan that doesn't seem to be working properly and I'm not sure if there is an error in the logic or am I missing something ?

The simple part of my scan is looking for the SMA 5 close crossing above the SMA 10 close.

[type = Stock]
and [SMA(5,close) X  SMA(10, close)]

I usually run this scan after the close each day and it did pick up several stocks on May 27, but when I look at the charts I don't know why it didn't pick them up days earlier on May 23.  Is this an error or am I missing something, here is a close up of a few of the charts and a zoomed in version of a few days before May 27  which clearly shows it crossed on May 23.

Continue reading "SCAN - Q: Why didn't may scan pick this up days sooner?" »

Developing a Scan; Define Your Universe....

The first few lines define your development scan universe and these are mostly primary database variables.  The scan base is basically; Open, High, Low, Close & Vol, everything else has to be calculated.  So it helps the scanning speed and reduces the server load by using primary data first to limit the number of heavy calculations.


Continue reading "Developing a Scan; Define Your Universe...." »

Why Do My "After the Close" Scan Results Change?

Q: Why do I get different results when I run a scan at the close, a few minutes later and then a few hours later.  The scan criteria is the same and the mathematical formulas are the same.  How can the timing of my after the close scan change the math and give me different results ?

A:  Very good question, it doesn't happen often but if you run alot of scans you will occasionally come across this situation.  There are multiple reasons for this, lets look at some of the common causes.  Note this is only a general overview of the basics.

Continue reading "Why Do My "After the Close" Scan Results Change?" »

Writing a Scan, How Does "YOUR" Mind Think?

Have you ever read the scanning documentation or reviewed someone else's scan coding and thought this  just doesn't make sense to me, well you are not alone it happens to all of us.  We are not identical computers running the same version of software, we are individual, (and thats a good thing).

Scans are mathematical relationships between various variables and by default we all think of those relationships a little differently.  Here's a few examples to get you thinking outside of "YOUR" box.

Continue reading "Writing a Scan, How Does "YOUR" Mind Think?" »

Scanning to Find Stocks with Selling Climaxes

A selling climax occurs when a stock falls sharply on extremely high volume. As the name infers, a selling climax suggests that selling pressure has peaked and traders should expect some sort of rebound. Think of this selling pressure as a stretched rubber band, which cannot stretch forever. At some point, the rubber band either breaks or snaps back. In chart terms, a rubber band break would be the equivalent of a complete meltdown in prices. A snap back implies an oversold bounce that retraces a portion of the prior decline.

Continue reading "Scanning to Find Stocks with Selling Climaxes" »

What's Wrong with this Bearish MACD Crossover scan?


I inserted a predefined scan in the advanced scan workbench for a "Bearish MACD Crossover", however I'm not sure it's right.  I just cleared out all the default criteria and then selected and inserted the predefined Bearish MACD Crossover.  Here is the actual coding.

Scan code

 The coding seems to make sense until the last line which I think may contain some typos.  I understand there is a numerical relationship between signal and line, but what is the relationship between signal and histogram?  Also could someone explain what *0.25 means in the last lineā€¦  thanks.

Continue reading "What's Wrong with this Bearish MACD Crossover scan?" »

How can I see exactly what a predefined scan is doing and can I modify it?

 Well the short answer is yes, if you have an Extra level subscription or higher.  Basic or Free members can only review the output list of predefined scans.

 In the Standard Scan workbench there are two ways to add a predefined scan.

 1 - Under the "Global Filters" section just select the predefined scan in the drop down box.  This will add only the filter title, it does not show you the coding details and does not allow modifications.


2 - Under the "Additional Technical Expressions" section, select and insert the scan.  This is the method you want in order to see the coding details and allows you to modify them.

Continue reading "How can I see exactly what a predefined scan is doing and can I modify it?" »

Modify, Develop and Test a Custom Scan

Some of you might recognize this example from a CSTA webinar I did last Dec, but I thought it was a good time to update and share it with all StockCharts users.  The example starts with a simple predefined scan and shows how it can be modified, step by step.

(Note the techniques described use the advanced scan interface for writing custom scans, thus you will require at least an Extra level membership to create these scans).

Continue reading "Modify, Develop and Test a Custom Scan" »