A few years ago, I used to screen stocks on Value Line with a lot of metrics.
Then, I realized that only three or four metrics were really useful to find the best companies:
1- Stock predictability;
2- Growth Rate over the last 5 years;
The order of the list is important. To me, the most important metric is now "Stock predictability". It shows how predictable is a stock and, frankly, that's probably the most useful thing to know, because it shows how confident you can be about the appreciation of your stock.
Then, the growth rate over the last 5 years. Why looking at the past instead of the future? Because I don't see why I should have any confidence about future growth for a stock that didn't grow in the recent past. Plus, usually, when the growth was good or great in the recent past, chances are that it will remain interesting in the near future. Not always, but most of the time.
Then, the ROE. I used to be very picky about the ROE. But, I'm now more flexible. I own some companies with a ROE in the range of 15-20 while I used to look at stocks with a much higher ROE. Well, that metric is important for your whole portfolio. But if you own 20 stocks, I think that it's OK to own 3-4 stocks with a lower ROE, if the growth is interesting.
Then, other things such as debt level, cash on hand, margins, beta, forward PE and some more are important. But a deeper analysis is only done when stocks respect my three criterias. There may be one or two exceptions in my portfolio, but not more.
One stock that respects that screening: Microsoft.