Stock Market Screener Demo

15 December 2021

In the last couple of years I have been actively investing my savings in the Stock Market. I have learned a lot on how finance works but long story short, I am not interested in investing in the stock market anymore since I came to realize that:

  1. I don’t own enough capital to make substantial returns
  2. Beating the market average is difficult (it requires a lot of time)

Therefore I’m better off by focusing on my job and investing in myself rather than than the stock market. At least for the next 5 years or so.

My surplus money can track the market average and I stay clear from crypto, on which I am not willing to risk any substantial amount of money, but that’s for another post.

Anyway, before my crush on the stock market faded-and feeding off my engineering spirit-I was fascinated by the idea of developing my own trading bots.

Developing trading strategies needs at minimum:

  1. A strategy (duh!)
  2. Market data to backtest the strategy

I decided to focus on market data first, and I quickly realized that there is no real good free source of it, unless you want to pay $$$. Then I found out about Alpha Vantage which is a market data provider with a generous free tier which gives unlimited access to global market data, but it comes with a strong rate limit on the speed at which you can read it.

So I went to work and developed a few Python scripts that would slowly crawl Alpha Vantage each day and collect price and company information in a database from which I could easily run query or make simulations via Jupiter Notebooks.

I managed to get a working crawler but then quickly lost my interest in developing strategies. Instead of throwing away my work I decided to turn it in a basic stock market screener to add to my portfolio by adding a web interface on top.

Architecture Diagram
Architecture Diagram

The project is mainly composed of 3 components: the Data Ingestion service, the Database, and the Stock Screener web app. They are all hosted on Microsoft Azure.

The arrows in the diagram represent the flow of market data.

The Data Ingestion service is the crawler that I mentioned earlier. It is written in Python and uses httpx to download data from Alpha Vantage and pyodbc to talk with the database. I spent some time learning how to use async programming with Python to be able to parallelize the HTTP requests to Alpha Vantage, but then I hit the bottleneck of pyodbc which does not have async support at the moment.

Stock List
Stock List

The Database is a classic relational SQL database which is good enough for my use case, without having to disturb the folks in the NoSQL world.

The Web App is built with ASP.NET Core. The frontend uses Bootstrap 5, htmx and Alpine.js.

This is the first time I have worked with ASP.NET. Overall it was a good experience, ASP.NET is a mature technology with plenty of documentation. I developed the web app entirely within Visual Studio 2022 to see what Microsoft is up these days and I found it very simple to use and quite snappy. I was surprised to find out that Visual Studio Code with the C# Extension is capable to replace Visual Studio entirely, debugging capabilities included! I could do the development entirely on Linux or Mac seamlessly.

Company Overview
Company Overview

The code is hosted on GitHub. A running demo can be accessed at at least until the billing starts to be higher than a few quids a month.