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 I developed a stock-picking model when I was in graduate school to take advantage of the bullishness the market was exhibiting at the time. The premise was to invest in high beta stocks while trying to limit my downside exposure in the event of a stall or downturn. By using the quantitative steps in the model, stocks are selected that are experiencing sustainable price momentum. The model is a multistep screening and high-grade process that goes something like this:

•First, create a universe of about 200 stocks that have demonstrated strong price appreciation and earnings growth in the last 12 months. You can find some pretty good easy to use screening tools on the Internet such as Rapid Research or Yahoo Stock Screener. If you flipped open your IBD, these would typically be the stocks that have a 95 RS and 95 EPS.

•Rank these stocks on the following criteria: Price Appreciation, Price Appreciation divided by trailing 12 month P/E, Price Appreciation divided by forward 12 month P/E. Weight each criterion equally and rerank the database. This process favors stocks with more reasonable valuations and weeds out those with no earnings.

•Take the top 20 stocks and rank by 12-month revenue growth.

•Take the top 10 stocks and run a time series regression analysis on the daily prices for the last 12 months and rank by the highest r-squared correlation coefficient.

•Take the top three stocks in order and perform due diligence to determine if there were any one time non – operating factors that affected the data just analyzed (asset sales, lawsuits, financing, etc.) or if there is any pending news of significance that could upset the applecart. Select the highest ranked stock that clears this hurdle.

•Buy this stock. In a typical bull market, the stock will, on average, achieve a 15% gain within 4 to 6 weeks. Sell the stock and repeat the process. Why sell so soon? Well there are ever changing phenomena going on in the market that could make your selection criteria quite different a month after the signals told you to buy this stock. The theory here is that you are selling a potentially "tired" stock and trading it for a "fresh" one.

What this process is trying to do is to select a hot growth stock that has a little more juice left in it to get you that last 15% without being so hideously overvalued that it could drop like a rock.
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