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Here's a choice: Get a stock idea from message boards (anonymous),


guest (often conflicted), or Wall Street research (almost always conflicted). Or, get an idea from a stock screen, based on real, fundamental criteria.

What Works

What Works: The pros and cons of wireless trading.

What Works Best: A guide to getting started with wireless trading.

What Works Next: Help us pick the best stock screeners.

What Works According to . . . Online Investor Editor Jan Parr

Any more opinions on what works in wireless trading? Email us at m.

The vote goes to the stock screen. Except it's more work.

Stock screening does take some actual do-it-yourselfing, but a lot less than it did five years ago, thanks to all the online stock screeners around right now.

The better they work, the easier they are to use and the less trouble for you.

Which ones work best? That's the subject of our coming What Works column. (Our inaugural

What Works details how this reader participation column works.) Also, one reader suggested we focus on some topics that would apply to a large number of readers, in contrast to wireless trading, our first topic, and he's got a point. Stock screeners are popular, and readers who don't use them perhaps should.

Stock screening sites are not equally useful or easy to use. I'd like readers to share their views about the following screeners (as many as you can bite off) against the following criteria. If you know of other screeners or care about other criteria, please let me know and include that information as well. If you are not familiar with these screeners, please take a moment to give some of them a go. I'll do the same. Then we'll gather our findings. Email


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Ease of use: Is it easy to figure out how to use the screening tool, modify inputs, etc.? If there are instructions, are they easily understood and useful?

Flexibility: Does the tool let you screen based on a wide range of variables, or are your options relatively limited?

Suggested screens: Does the site offer some off-the-shelf inputs for screens of, say, value or growth stocks?

Preprogrammed reports: Does the site do some of its own screens, offering readers the results, and are they useful?

Bells and whistles: Does the tool have any unusual features that make it really special?

Accessibility: Does the tool provide aid for beginners, like explanation of terms and suggestions for inputs?

Accuracy: Do the results appear to be accurate? A random check against another source can sometimes tell all.

Research: Once you get your list, does the screen tool provide good avenues for further research via links?

Download functionality: If the screening tool lets you download results into, for example, an Excel spreadsheet, does the feature work well and easily?

If the site has basic and advanced screening tools, please make clear whether you're using one or the other or have tried both.

Please send your findings to Also, please include your full name, and some information about what type of trader/investor you are.

What Works Book Club

I've received many suggestions for what we should read in the What Works Book Club, and am still open to more, including new titles. Email

Customer Service Hero/Horror Story

I find it hard to believe that no one's had a customer service hero or horror story with an investing site or service recently. C'mon, folks, throw me a bone and send a few heartwarming or depressing tales my way. The more we recognize what's good and shine a light on what's bad, the sooner things will shape up. Send your story to