Unveiling the Piotroski F-Score: Unleashing the Power of Fundamental Analysis for Investment Success

In the world of investing, finding reliable and effective strategies to identify profitable opportunities is a constant pursuit. One such strategy that has gained significant attention and acclaim is the Piotroski F-Score. Developed by Joseph Piotroski, an accounting professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the F-Score is a simple yet powerful tool that assesses the financial strength of a company. In this blog, we will explore the Piotroski F-Score and demonstrate its impact on investment performance.

Understanding the Piotroski F-Score:

The Piotroski F-Score is a scoring system that evaluates various financial metrics to determine the fundamental strength of a company. It consists of nine criteria, each assigned a value of 0 or 1, based on the company’s financial statements. The criteria assess areas such as profitability, leverage, liquidity, and operating efficiency. By summing up the scores, investors can gauge the overall financial health and potential of a company.

The Nine Criteria (Review):

  1. Positive Net Income: A company earns a point if it reports a positive net income in the current year.
  2. Positive Operating Cash Flow: A point is awarded if the company generates positive operating cash flow.
  3. Increasing Return on Assets (ROA): If the company’s ROA is higher in the current year compared to the previous year, it receives a point.
  4. Cash Flow from Operations > Net Income: A company gains a point if its cash flow from operations exceeds its net income.
  5. Decreasing Leverage: If the company’s long-term debt ratio is lower compared to the previous year, it receives a point.
  6. Increasing Current Ratio: A point is awarded if the company’s current ratio (current assets divided by current liabilities) is higher than the previous year.
  7. No Dilution of Shares: If the company did not issue any new shares in the form of equity offerings, it gains a point.
  8. Increasing Gross Margin: If the company’s gross margin is higher in the current year compared to the previous year, it receives a point.
  9. Increasing Asset Turnover Ratio: A point is awarded if the company’s asset turnover ratio is higher compared to the previous year.

The Impact on Investment Performance:

Numerous studies have examined the impact of the Piotroski F-Score on investment performance, consistently demonstrating its effectiveness. By using the F-Score as a filter, investors can identify companies with strong financials, potentially leading to higher returns. 

Let’s explore a few ways in which the Piotroski F-Score can impact investment performance:

  • Enhanced Stock Selection: The F-Score allows investors to screen and select stocks from a universe of options. By focusing on companies with high F-Scores, investors can potentially avoid weaker companies and increase the likelihood of investing in financially robust companies poised for growth.
  • Improved Risk Management: The F-Score provides valuable insights into a company’s financial health and stability. By avoiding companies with low F-Scores, investors can reduce the risk of investing in financially distressed or underperforming companies. This approach can enhance risk management and improve the overall performance of an investment portfolio.
  • Long-Term Outperformance: Studies have shown that investment strategies based on the Piotroski F-Score have the potential to deliver long-term outperformance compared to market benchmarks. By focusing on financially strong companies with improving fundamentals, investors can align their investments with companies that have a higher probability of generating sustainable growth and positive returns over time.
  • Contrarian Opportunities: The Piotroski F-Score can also uncover contrarian investment opportunities. By identifying companies with low F-Scores that have the potential to improve their financials, investors may be able to capitalize on market inefficiencies and generate significant returns when the market recognizes the positive changes.


The Piotroski F-Score offers investors a valuable tool to assess the financial strength of companies and make more informed investment decisions. By leveraging the F-Score as a part of their investment strategy, investors can enhance stock selection, manage risk effectively, potentially achieve long-term outperformance, and uncover contrarian opportunities. However, it’s important to note that the F-Score should be used as one among many tools in an investor’s arsenal and should be complemented by thorough research and analysis.

This isn’t the last of Piotroski you’ll read! Be on the look out for Equities Lab’s Piotroski series coming soon…

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