The goal of this visualization was to create a different way to find stocks that are similar to each other. The idea is to improve on the numbers-based stock screener, which is a staple of investing and brokerage sites.
When you are looking for stocks to invest in, the most common tool you might use is called a screener. A screener helps you filter down the entire universe of thousands of stocks to find ones that are of interest to you. The only catch is that they require a lot of specific knowledge to use. You have to know exactly what values of different attributes (P/E Ratio, Yearly Performance, Debt to Equity, etc) are of interest to you. Once you enter those values, the screener will only show you stocks that exactly match what you entered. If a stock matches all but one of the criteria you selected, but is off by a tiny little bit on that one, it won’t show at all. Murphy’s law dictates that will be the stock that takes off this year and you’ll never even know how close you came to the one that got away.
The visual screener gets around all of those issues. In addition to being able to filter the list of stocks by selected criteria (not shown) the visual screener pulls stocks to the middle of the screen that match the criteria you selected. Stocks are separated by industry, and you can pan and zoom in to see specific smaller stocks. You can weight the criteria by which attribute is most or least important to you, and you can even change the meaning of size (usually market cap) and color (performance) as you see fit. It’s also much easier to simply change the criteria that are important to you. You don’t have to go back to the screener enter new values and hit search again. Just change things up and the stocks move around so you can see what comes to the center and what doesn’t.
This is a proof of concept to which many more features that could be added, but it is based on real stocks from a point-in-time download of stock market data. In other words, it actually works, which is kinda cool.