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Benjamin Graham's Stock-Picking Strategies

Plenty of Web sites have stock screens based on methods established by the father of securities analysis.

Is there a Web site for stock screening that uses Benjamin Graham's value-investing rules?

Benjamin Graham, the father of securities analysis, outlined his stock-picking strategies in The Intelligent Investor, published in 1949, and those strategies have been widely disseminated -- including on the Internet -- ever since.

Graham advocated buying a stock at a price well below the company's intrinsic value. His goal was to get a dollar of assets for less than 50 cents. That discount gives investors a margin of safety, which insulates them from the whims of the market.

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Plenty of Web sites have screens based on Graham's methods. For example, he prized companies with net cash holdings (cash minus outstanding debt) equal to at least 50% of their stock-market value.Nasdaq's Web site offers a free Graham screener that selects Nasdaq-traded stocks that pass the test.

Morningstar.com offers a customized screen that applies a broader array of Graham's criteria. The screen is part of Morningstar's premium membership, which costs $15.95 per month, or $145 for one year. Or, for less than $20, buy The Intelligent Investor and create your own Graham-inspired screens at Kiplinger.com or Yahoo Finance.

A word of caution: Graham's criteria can lead you to stocks that are value traps, meaning the shares are cheap for good reason and unlikely to appreciate. Screens are a good place to start, but don't buy without doing your research.

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