Saturday, July 16, 2011
According to Investopedia, Float is defined:
The total number of shares publicly owned and available for trading. The float is calculated by subtracting restricted shares from outstanding shares.Be sure not to confuse Outstanding Shares with Float:
Stock currently held by investors, including restricted shares owned by the company's officers and insiders, as well as those held by the public. Shares that have been repurchased by the company are not considered outstanding stock.Basically, Float is the number of shares available to all us average people who can buy and sell stock through brokerages such as Ameritrade, Etrade, Interactive Brokers, etc.
Float Turnover is the number of times a stock trades the number of shares of its float. For example, Stock X has a float of 100,000 shares. Last Friday, Stock X traded 100,000 shares giving us 1 float turnover. FT = DV / Float
You can use Float Turnover as an entry or exit signal for swing trading. After a correction, look for stocks trading at least 1x their current float for entries. Then use a similar exit signal that looks for that stock selling off on 1x or greater float turnover.
To remove noise from the formula, use a average volume of n days. The formula would look like: FT = AVGVolume50 / Float
Supply and Demand
This is a measure of supply and demand. We can find which stocks have the highest demand compared to the lowest supply. In theory, the stocks with the highest float turnover will move significantly faster than stocks with the lowest float turnover. One problem is we do not know how much volume is made up of day traders or robot trading.
You can apply this formula across all stocks in your trading universe to figure out which stocks offer the best liquidity to float ratio. From past research, we know we want to be in the stocks with the highest relative strength rank and the lowest float. These stocks have more popping power on a weekly basis compared to stocks with millions of shares available to the public.
Think of it as another safety mechanism. We want to trade the lowest float stocks but many times that stock is trading 50k volume a day or less. If you’re looking to pick up 5000 shares, you just made up 10% of that trading volume. When it comes time to sell, you might have a hard time unloading that stock, especially if there is some negative news causing the sell off. There might not be any buyers. With higher trading volumes, the likelihood of getting stuck in a stock is reduced.
For this reason, buying based on float alone is not enough, you need to weigh float against average trading volume to really see what is happening on the supply and demand side.
Where to Find Float Data
For Telechart users, you would think it would be as easy as creating a PCF with the formula above. Unfortunately, Telechart does not allow us to calculate against fundamental data. We have to look at some other sites to get this data:
FINVIZ has the data for free under their ownership tab.
Yahoo offers float and average 50 day volume trading data.
Investors Business Daily offers IBD Top Supply/Demand Companies on Thursdays.
IBD’s Supply/Demand Rating is a powerful proprietary gauge of institutional demand. Stocks with high Supply/Demand Ratings show unusually large trading activity relative to their supply of shares. Highlights companies with strong fundamentals, market-leading stock performance and heavy demand from mutual funds and other institutional investors, all key elements of the stock market’s biggest historical winners.In Summary, adding float turnover to your daily trading analysis will improve your results because you are focusing on stocks with greater demand and potentially more popping power compared to all others in your trading universe.