Piotroski Score

The Piotroski score is a strategy that allows investors to evaluate various investments against a nine-point scoring system. Devised by Joseph Piotroski, a professor of accounting at the University of Chicago, the Piotroski score provides a convenient method for comparing the likely risks and returns of various stock market investments. Piotroski first published the scoring method in 2000 in the Journal of Accounting Research under the title “Value Investing: The Use of Historical Financial Statement Information to Separate Winners from Losers.” The Piotroski strategy consistently produces results that outperform the market, making it a favorite analysis tool for small investors and major investment firms alike.

Piotroski calculator


Using the Piotroski value investing strategy, stocks are assessed against a nine-point questionnaire, earning one point for each criterion the company achieved in the last year or two years. These criteria can be loosely grouped into three categories: profit margin, efficiency, and liquidity. The criteria used in determining the Piotroski score are:

Profit Margin

  • Quality of Earnings: Last year’s operating cash flow should exceed net income for the company.
  • Net Income: A positive net income in the current year.
  • Return on Assets: Return on assets for current year exceeds that for the previous year.
  • Operating Cash Flow: The company should show a positive cash flow for the current year.

Efficiency

  • Gross Margin: Current gross margin exceeds the previous year’s gross margin.
  • Asset Turnover Ratio: The percentage increase in sales exceeds the percentage increase in assets.

Liquidity

  • Outstanding Shares: No new shares issued in the past year.
  • Current Ratio: This year’s current ratio exceeds that of last year.
  • Long-Term Debt vs. Assets: Decreased long-term debt for the current year compared to the previous year.
The Piotroski calculator is exceptionally straightforward; companies receive one point for each criterion met with a maximum possible score of nine points. Companies with scores of eight or nine are exceptionally strong and represent good investment risks, while scores of two or under are considered weak and should be avoided.

The Piotroski value investing strategy is considered a solid guideline for selecting stock market investments, since it considers many of the main factors in corporate profitability. Like any investment strategy, however, past results are not indicative of future returns. The Piotroski value investing method is only one of a number of tools used by investment analysts to determine the best strategies for profit on the stock market.
Tim Ord
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