Frequently Asked Questions

What is Validea?

Validea is a unique, Internet-based supplier of research and analytical tools for the individual and professional investors. What Validea does is interpret the investment strategies of well-known stock market investors, whom we call "gurus," and give you the ability to apply these interpretations to analyze virtually any stock or to follow proven model portfolios based on these investment legends.

What is the quickest way to learn how to use the site?

We recommend that before you go any further, you read our free report on guru investing by clicking here.

Who are the gurus whose strategies you interpret and follow?

The guru strategies on our site are based on historically successful investors who have proven track records and, often, have truly legendary reputations. They include: Warren Buffett, David Dreman, Kenneth Fisher, Benjamin Graham, Peter Lynch, The Motley Fool, John Neff, James P. O'Shaughnessy, John Piotroski and Martin Zweig. The strategies are based on our best interpretation of the published writings of the gurus and are not endorsed by them.

What do you mean that you interpret the strategies of these gurus?

We first choose a group of investors whose abilities are practically beyond dispute. We then carefully read what they themselves have written about their methodologies and how they analyze potential investments. Almost all of our gurus have written one or more books or articles describing their approach to analyzing stocks. The one exception is Warren Buffett; we base our interpretation of his methodology primarily on the book, Buffettology, by Mary Buffett, as well as on other published materials.

When we read about a guru, we break down, into discrete variables, what the guru looks for when selecting stocks. We then take these criteria and create a model that we think fairly represents his investment strategy. Then, using financial data supplied by Reuters, we automatically apply this model to the 3000+ publicly traded companies in our universe. As a member of Validea, you have access to these models and analyses. Note, our approach is not endorsed or otherwise authorized by any of the gurus. We read their books and articles, and other materials about them, identify the variables we believe they use, interpret their strategies and weight the various criteria based on what we think is the emphasis the guru gives to each criteria. What we provide is our interpretation of how these gurus operate.

How do I get all the information I need to apply the guru strategies?

You don't have to get the information. That's our job. We find the data and calculate the variables for you. If you need the current ratio or the EPS, for instance, our software, which is patented, automatically does this work for you. With Validea, you just type in the stock symbols of companies you want to know more about, and we do the analysis, including breaking down each and every variable for each and every guru strategy for each and every company. It's automatic and instant. And, our site is updated every weekday night.

Why Follow Gurus?

There's an old saying: Don't reinvent the wheel. These gurus have strategies which have been tested and used by investors for years, even decades. If you think you are a smarter student of the stock market than Graham, Buffett, Lynch, Dreman, Fisher and the like, then, quite honestly, you don't need Validea. If, however, you think folks like these are pretty savvy and have ideas which are worthwhile, then you'd do well to listen to them, understanding, of course, that you'll be using our interpretation of their strategies.

I have been hearing great buzz in the media about a particular stock, but your strategies don't rate it highly. Why is that?

We at Validea believe that the most effective and successful investors are those with a logical, proven plan that they follow, no matter what. We analyze stocks and make recommendations based on cold, hard calculations. No emotion, no hunches - only the numbers matter. We let the guru strategies be our guides because we think emotion is an enemy of the investor, not a friend.

What does Validea cost?

We don't believe in selling things "sight unseen." That's why we offer a FREE, seven day trial subscription. During this time, you'll have full access to all of Validea's features. If you don't find our information and analysis worthwhile, you risk nothing, you pay nothing. If, on the other hand, you find that Validea offers unique views of the stock market that you cannot find anywhere else, you are invited to join. Our standard membership, after the free trial membership is $29.95 per month, $74.95 per quarter, or $269.95 per year. Our professional service is $99.95 per month, $269.95 per quarter or $899.95 per year. You can sign up for a free trial by clicking here

What does membership to Validea get me?

Our regular membership provides access to our standard subscription services and features including twelve of our guru models and our Guru Analysis, Guru Stock Screener and Model Portfolios based on them, as well as our bi-weekly Hot List Newsletter.

Who do I contact for customer service?

For general questions, please email For customer and billing inquiries, send an email to

I am unable to login. What should I do?

You can have your username and password emailed to you by clicking here. If you continue to have login problems after receiving your username and password, please contact

Guru Analysis

What is Guru Analysis?

Guru Analysis provides an in-depth analysis of any stock using Validea's interpretations of the published writings of (or, in the case of Warren Buffett, the writings about) 22 of history's most successful investors. These include: Warren Buffett, David Dreman, Kenneth Fisher, Benjamin Graham, Peter Lynch, The Motley Fool, John Neff, James P. O'Shaughnessy, Joseph Piotroski and Martin Zweig. Our pro service offers ten additional guru models. You can see them here

How does Guru Analysis Work?

Using the power of Validea's computer programming and its access to the financial data of Reuters, Guru Analysis takes virtually any stock listed on the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ and the smaller exchanges, and analyzes them based on each guru's published strategy. Each strategy has different criteria it looks at. Guru Analysis runs each criteria of each strategy against the financial data of the company you are studying. It then tells you, instantly, how each of our 22 strategies rates the stock; you get 22 scores or ratings for each stock.

What do the guru ratings or scores mean?

The Guru Analysis ratings or scores (scores and ratings are the same thing) are based on a range of 0 percent to 100 percent for each strategy as it is applied to the stock you are interested in. The ratings factor the number of tests the stock "passes" for each strategy. If it passes none of the strategy's tests, it gets a rating of 0 percent; and if it passes all tests, it gets a 100 percent rating. Different tests within each strategy get different weightings, because each investor thinks some criteria are more important than others. Our interpretations of the strategies take these different weightings into consideration. In fact, some criteria are so important to certain gurus that, if the stock fails one of those criteria, it fails the guru's strategy entirely, and will get a score of 0 percent, even if it passes other tests.

What do "Strong Interest" and "Some Interest" mean?

Strong Interest and Some Interest are a way to tell how well a stock meets a particular strategy's criteria. Strong Interest indicates that a stock meets essentially all of the criteria and Some Interest indicates that it meets most of the criteria. The scores that result in Strong Interest and Some Interest will vary for each strategy, but as a general rule 90% or above results in Strong Interest and 80% or above results in Some Interest.

How often is Guru Analysis updated?

The Guru Analysis is updated each night.

How do your guru strategies perform?

We launched model portfolios based on our guru strategies on July 15, 2003. We have a portfolio based on each of our guru strategies and several that combine all them. View the Model Portfolio Returns.

Is there any affiliation between Validea and the gurus that the strategies are based on?

No, the names of individual investment advisors (i.e., the 'gurus') appearing on our site are for identification purposes of his methodology only, as derived by from published sources, and are not intended to suggest or imply any affiliation with or endorsement or even agreement with our reports personally by such gurus, or any knowledge or approval by such persons of the content of our site.

What is the Guru Stock Screener?

The Guru Stock Screener allows you to see the stocks currently passing the strategies from our Guru Analysis. You can see the stocks that pass a particular strategy you are interested in or you can combine the strategies to see stocks that pass multiple gurus simultaneously. You can also combine your own fundamental criteria with our guru strategies to create custom screens.

Model Portfolios

What are Validea's Model Portfolios?

Validea Model Portfolios are 10 and 20 stock simulated portfolios based on the strategies on our site. We offer two types of model portfolios:

Guru-based portfolios: For each of our 22 guru strategies, we offer a 10 or 20 stock model portfolio. Both portfolios are offered for four rebalancing periods: monthly, quarterly, annual and tax efficient.

Consensus portfolios: Portfolios that draw from all of our guru strategies are our consensus portfolios. They are a consensus of all of the individual guru strategies. Probably the most widely followed of all of our portfolios is one of our consensus portfolios, the Validea Hot List portfolio.

What is Tax Efficient Rebalancing?

Our tax efficient rebalancing system has two goals. The first is to hold winning positions at least a year to benefit from the favorable tax treatment that long-term gains receive (for those investors who invest via taxable accounts and are subject to differences between long- and short-term tax rates). The second is to substantially reduce turnover in our portfolios, while still utilizing monthly rebalancing. Our tax efficient portfolios are rebalanced monthly, but typically only have one third of the turnover of our standard monthly rebalanced models. The tax efficient portfolios are only available to subscribers to Validea Professional.

What is the Validea Hot List?

The Validea Hot List model portfolio is based on a proprietary system we have developed that combines all of the guru strategies on our site. The system looks for the stocks with the most combined interest from our 22 strategies, but with a twist. The twist is that we weight the strategies with the best historical risk-adjusted performance more heavily in our Hot List scoring system. The result is a portfolio of the stocks with the most combined interest from our strategies with the best historical risk-adjusted performance.

How are the stocks in each portfolio determined?

The stocks in each guru portfolio represent the stocks that score the highest according to the particular strategy's guru score. The stocks in our consensus model portfolios are determined using a combination of all our guru strategies.

How often are the portfolios updated?

The stocks within our monthly and tax efficient model portfolios are updated once every 28 days on Friday. Our quarterly portfolios are updated once per quarter. Our annual model portfolios are updated once every year. The performance figures shown on the site are updated each night.

How do the model portfolios work?

Each time we update the model portfolios, we perform a simulated transaction in which we sell the stocks that were previously in the portfolio and then buy the new stocks that currently meet the criteria of the model portfolio. By performing the updates to the portfolio using this method, we are able to not only get the new stocks in and the old stocks out, but also to ensure that the stocks are equally weighted on each update date.

When did you begin tracking the model portfolios?

Our original group of guru strategies consisted of eight strategies. We started tracking the performance of them on July 15th, 2003. These are clearly listed on the site under, "Individual Guru Portfolios started on July 15th, 2003." We have a policy of adding strategies when we find those that are powerful and successful. These are listed on the site under. "Individual Guru Portfolios started after July 15th, 2003." At this time, we have added thirteen guru strategies to our original group of eight. The consensus portfolios were all begun on July 15th, 2003, and are tracked from that date.

Do you use stop losses?

Yes, we utilize a sliding scale stop loss system in our portfolios that is only applied on our scheduled rebalancing dates. The stop loss percentage we use starts at 40%, but it is adjusted based on the performance of the market. When the market return is positive, the stop percentage rises and when the market is down, the stop percentage falls. The amount it rises and falls is determined by a proprietery calculation we have developed.

Why do the stocks in a particular guru model portfolio not correspond with the stocks currently scoring the highest for that guru in the Guru Stock Screener?

The model portfolios are only updated every 28 days, quarterly, or once per year depending on the portfolio type. The Guru Stock Screener is updated every day. As a result, the stocks in a model portfolios will not always match the highest scoring stocks in the Guru Stock Screener and the current portfolio. In addition, our model portfolios have both size and liquidity requirements, to prevent small and thinly traded stocks from being added. The guru stock screener does not impose these requirements, and as a result, the highest scoring stocks from the Guru Stock Screener will sometimes not be added to our portfolios.

ETF Portfolios

What are Validea's ETF Portfolios?

Our ETF portfolios rotate among factors, sectors and asset classes using value, momentum, macro factors, and a composite of all three of them. We offer portfolios that remain invested all the time as well as portfolios that utilize our trend following system. Our ETF portfolios are updated monthly on the same dates as our model portfolios.

What factors determine the ETFs in each portfolio?

The ETFs for our value portfolios are determined based on the relative valuation of each factor or sector compared to its own history. The ETFs for our momentum portfolios are selected using a mix of short- and medium-term momentum signals. Our macro portfolios select factors and sectors that have historically performed well in macroeconomic environments similar to the current one. Our composite porfolios use an equal blend of value, momentum, and macro factors.

What ETFS do you select from?

Our factor portfolios select from a universe of 15 factor ETFS that offer small-, mid- and large-cap exposure to value, growth, momentum, quality and low volatility. Our sector portfolios select from a group of 9 ETFs covering all the major sectors. Our asset allocation models select from a group of ETFs covering the major asset classes.

Validea Professional

What is Validea Professional?

Validea Professional features the best stock ideas and research that our system has to offer. The product of over a decade of testing and refinement, it consists of ten additional guru models plus three products not in the regular subscription: trade alerts, industry- and country-based portfolios and professional stock reports.

What does Validea Professional cost?

Validea Professional costs $99.95 per month or $269.95 per quarter or $899.95 per year. Validea Professional includes a full subscription to, so current subscribers only pay the difference between the cost of their current plan and the cost of Validea Professional.

What are industry and country portfolios?

Our industry and country portfolios provide subscribers with the top stocks using our proprietary Consensus system across all major sectors, regions and countries. The system allows subscribers to track top-performing regions like China and Latin America as well as top-performing sectors. The stocks within the portfolios are updated monthly and portfolio performance is updated daily.

What are stock reports?

Professional product subscribers receive unlimited access to our professional PDF stock reports, which sell for $25 each via our partner sites. These reports provide a detailed analysis of any given stock and combine the hundreds of data points that we analyze together to create a simple letter grade ranging from A to F for each stock. Our research has indicated that A-rated stocks produce significant market outperformance over time.

When are the stock reports updated?

Our professional reports are updated every other week on Friday. The reports are issued on this schedule to maintain consistency with the update schedule of our letter grading system (which is also updated every other week).

Trend Following

What is Trend Following?

Trend Following is a technical system that is used to move into and out of stocks and other asset classes when technical conditions deteriorate. The goal of trend following is to move into cash when a particular asset class is showing signs of further losses in order limit major drawdowns. When the asset class begins to appreciate in price again and show positive technical signs, the system will return to an invested position.

How does Trend Following work?

Trend Following uses moving averages, which are just the average price of an asset over a specified number of periods. For example, the 50 day moving average of the S&P 500 is the average of its price over the past 50 trading days. Our trend following system uses the 50 day and 200 day moving averages. When the price of an asset class breaks down technically according to a system we have developed that combines these moving averages, our system will generate a sell signal. When the price begins to move up and our sell criteria is no longer met, our system will indicate a buy signal.

How often do you apply you trend following strategy?

Applying the system every day would generate excessive signals into and out of asset classes. For that reason, we apply the system once per week based on Friday's close price.

Why does Trend Following work?

In general, trend following has worked historically because it partially offsets the negative role that emotions play in investing. Trend following systems typically limit losses during major market declines and limit volatility. These are the times when investors tend to make their worst decisions. By moving to cash during these periods, a trend following system can increase the likelihood that an investor will continue to adhere to an investing strategy during these times. The trade off that comes with this is that trend following systems will generate false signals during declines in up markets and require patience during these false signals in order to realize their long-term benefits.

How does Trend Following perform?

Performance varies across different asset classes. We show the performance of our trend following system for a large variety of assset classes and industries, and for all our guru portfolios here

The gurus you follow would typically advocate buy and hold investing. So why include trend following on your website?

We are believers in evidence-based investing. The goal of our website is to present quantitative models that have proven themselves over time. Trend following has very strong long-term performance supporting it and we have presented that performance on the website so our users can evaluate it for themselves. We remain big believers in buy and hold investing, but also recognize that different investors have different risk tolerances, and as a result, different types of investment strategies appeal to them. So we present both buy and hold and trend following results on our website and allow users to evaluate the data for themselves.

Performance Disclaimer: Returns presented on are model returns and do not represent actual trading. As a result, they do not incorporate any commissions or other trading costs or fees. Model portfolios with inception dates on or after 12/30/2005 include a combination of back tested and live model returns. The back-tested performance results shown are hypothetical and are not the result of real-time management of actual accounts. The back-testing of performance differs from actual account performance because the investment strategy may be adjusted at any time, for any reason and can continue to be changed until desired or better performance results are achieved. Back-tested returns are presented to provide general information regarding how the underlying strategy behind the portfolio performed in our historical testing. A back-tested strategy has the benefit of hindsight and the results do not reflect the impact that material economic or market factors may have had on advisor's decision-making if actual client assets were being managed using this approach.

Optimal portfolios presented on represent the rebalancing period that has led to the best historical performance for each of our equity models. Each optimal portfolio was determined after the fact with performance information that was not available at portfolio inception. As a result, an investor could not have invested in the optimal portfolio since its inception. Optimal portfolios are presented to allow investors to quickly determine the portfolio size and rebalancing period that has performed best for each of our models in our historical testing.

Both the model portfolio and benchmark returns presented for all equity portfolios on are not inclusive of dividends. Returns for our ETF portfolios and trend following system, and the benchmarks they are compared to, are inclusive of dividends. The S&P 500 is presented as a benchmark because it is the most widely followed benchmark of the overall US market and is most often used by investors for return comparison purposes. As with any investment strategy, there is potential for profit as well as the possibility of loss and investors may incur a loss despite a past history of gains. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Results will vary with economic and market conditions.