Securities To View: Create Your Own Filter


While there are only three types of preferred stocks (traditional, trust and 3rd-party trust), each security can have a variety of characteristics as specified in the prospectus. And the same is true for Exchange Traded Debt Securities (ETDs).


The Create Your Own Filter option allows you to use up to twenty-five characteristics of preferred stocks and ETDs to create your own filter.


For example, you can generate a list of all investment grade preferred stocks with cumulative dividends that are currently trading for a market price that is below their $25 par value. Or you can see all non-cumulative preferred stocks that have an investment grade rating from Moody's and S&P with a current yield over 7%. Or you can produce a list of all preferred stocks and ETDs that are issued by real estate companies (REITs) with a market price in a certain range. The combinations are endless. Since each of the characteristics seen here have multiple values to pick from, you can tighten your filter down as much, or as little, as you would like in order to see just the securities that you are interested in.


Creating A Filter


The following page will appear when you select the Create Your Own Filter option from the Securities To View drop-down menu.



To create a filter, use the field next to each parameter to specify the desired value. You can specify as many or as few criteria as you would like.


Most of the values that you can select from are self-explanatory but here are a few tips that should make using the Create Your Own Filter page a snap.


Dollar amounts are entered without the dollar sign and without any commas. For example, if you wanted to see securities that have a current market price of at least a thousand dollars you would enter 1000.00 in the "Today's price, at least" field.


Percentages are entered without the percent sign (%). For example, if you wanted to see securities that have a coupon value of at least 6.5 percent you would type 6.5 for the "Dividend rate at least" value.


Industry/Sector classifications follow the simplified Morningstar classification index as implemented at Yahoo Finance. Every security in our Preferred Stock ListTM database includes this coding for the issuing company's business sector and industry. When you select a sector on the Create Your Own Filter page, the industry list will automatically populate with the industries for the sector you selected. While the industry list will include all of the industries for the selected sector, industries that have no preferred stocks will appear in gray font and cannot be selected. Gray font means that there are no preferred stocks from that industry. To select multiple industries, hold the [shift] key down on your keyboard while clicking.


Another tip: Be careful not to create a filter that includes criteria that are mutually exclusive. Such a filter will result in a list of zero securities. For example, say you set the "Today's price, at least" value to 10.00 dollars but then set the "Today's price, at most" value to 5.00 dollars. These two criteria are mutually exclusive and would result in a list of zero securities.


Once you have your filter set up, click on the View List button in the bottom-left corner and PSL will present the list of all securities that meet the criteria that you have specified.


About List


When viewing the securities from your filter, you will notice that an additional feature appears to the left just above the column headings.


The About List feature allows you to see the parameters of your filter without having to return to the Create Your Own Filter page.


Just hover your mouse over the About List feature and a pop-up box will open on your screen with the values of your filter that generated the list.


Note that the About List feature only appears when you are viewing a list that was generated by the Create Your Filter page.




Returning To Your Filter


Once you specify the parameters of your filter and click the View List button, the securities that qualify for your filter will be presented.


Your web browser program (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari) has a built-in feature that allows you to return to the filter page in order to re-visit your parameters.


To return to the Create Your Own Filter page and re-visit your parameters, position your mouse pointer anywhere within the PSL frame and RIGHT click your mouse.


Clicking on your RIGHT mouse button will open a small menu on your screen that includes a Back option. Clicking the Back option will return you to the Create Your Own Filter page with your parameters.


Please note that the Back/Previous arrow button located in the upper-left corner of your web browser window will NOT return you to your filter page. Use the Back function described in the above paragraphs instead.


Once you have returned to your filter page and have reviewed or modified your filter, click on the View List button to see your list of securities again.



Stock Check


The Create Your Own Filter page also provides a "Stock Check" feature in the upper-right corner of the page. The Stock Check feature allows you to see the characteristics for a specific preferred stock or ETDs.


To use the Stock Check feature, click the small down-arrow to drop down the list of securities in the PSL database. To find the security that you are interested in, type the first letter of its trading symbol and the list will automatically scroll to that point. Click on the trading symbol for your security then click the Go button.


The characteristics of the security that you selected will be displayed.


Upgrade Candidates


Preferred Stock Investing describes a technique called "upgrading" that allows you to "trade in" a low dividend paying preferred stock for a higher paying one and have cash left over when you're done. When upgrading, you will sell your low-payer and use the proceeds to purchase a higher payer that is selling for a lower market price than the one you sold.


The Stock Check feature makes finding upgrade candidates a snap for any preferred stock in your portfolio.


For example, let's say that you own PSA-R from Public Storage. PSA-R pays a 6.35% dividend (coupon) and is selling for $27.49 (on the day this was written). Use the Stock Check field to retrieve PSA-R. With PSA-R's characteristics displayed, clear some of the fields so that the filter is not overly restrictive - when performing an upgrade what you really want to see is a list of candidates that have a higher dividend rate and are available for a lower price than the security you are selling (PSA-R here).


In this example, to see more candidates the following fields from PSA-R were changed to 'No Preference' or set to blank - Callable, Schedule, Sector/Industry, Currently priced below par, Today's volume and Today's yield.



Clicking the View List button will display your upgrade candidates.


PSA-R meets the characteristics of your filter so it is listed along with 13 other upgrade candidates (this list is sorted by Div Rate by clicking on the column heading).


If you sell PSA-R for $27.49, you could buy any one of the other 13 securities seen in the list and (a) realize an increase in dividend income and (b) have cash left over since they are all selling for market prices less than PSA-R's $27.49.


Take a look at DRE-O at the bottom of the list. By selling PSA-R for $27.49 and using the proceeds to buy DRE-O, you would increase your dividend return to 8.375% (up from PSA-R's 6.35%) and have $1.76 per share left over in your brokerage cash account. Whether or not doing so is consistent with your personal financial goals, resources and risk tolerance is, of course, a decision that only you can make.


Using the Stock Check feature is an extremely powerful way to identify upgrade candidates at any time for the preferred stocks in your portfolio.





Saving Your Filter


Clicking the Save Filter As button at the bottom of the page allows you to save your filter to your computer's hard disk.


When you click the Save Filter As button, your web browser program (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Safari) takes over from our program so the appearance and function of these windows depends on which web browser program you are using, your computer's operating system and how you have the preference and other security settings configured. Our program tells your web browser program to save the filter file; how it does so is entirely up to your web browser program.


The example at left is from FireFox for Windows.


If you are having difficulty saving the filter file to your computer, please seek the assistance of a local technical resource who can work with you to properly configure the technical settings and preferences of your computer web browser and/or operating system to properly perform this function.


By clicking the Save File radio button then the OK button, FireFox (in this example) will present the Save As window that allows you to set your filter file's name and the location (folder) on your computer's hard disk.


The file type is set to use the plain text (.txt) format which is the format required for filter files. Changing the file type will prohibit your filter file from being able to be used by the Get Saved Filter feature. Please do not change the file type when saving your filter file.


Remember where you save your filter file since you will need this information again when you want to retrieve your filter using the Get Saved Filter button.