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Straight talk about today's markets
A timeless amusing video on "Analysts' standards", from Saturday Night Live show

[Keynes] "Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally". Humans have a strong desire to be part of a group: the group offers safety, confirmation and simplifies decision-making. Further, if something should go wrong, it is more comforting to be with others than to be alone
The Complete Guide to Wall Street Self-Defense, Blodget (on, 2004
What you won't learn from your broker? How Long Is "The Long Run"? (Stocks are a great investment - if you can wait 30 years). What's Your Real Projected Returns? (after fees, costs, taxes, and inflation). What financial advisers are good for? (and what they probably aren't). What "Buy" Means? The Folly of "Cheap" and "Expensive" Stocks. When They Say "Buy", Sell (The least-bad market prediction tool). Smart? Skillful? Probably Just Lucky (The vast and unappreciated role of luck in investing). What Stock Analysts Are Good For? (A lot - but not picking stocks). Why Wall Street Hates the "S" Word? (The real reason there are so few "sell" recommendations).
Are Small Investors Naive About Incentives?, Malmendier, Shanthikumar, 2003
"Analysts face incentives to positively bias the information they provide to investors. These incentives are reflected in the very low number of sell and strong sell recommendations issued by all analysts, in particular by affiliated analysts. We find that small investors do not adjust for the incentives of an analyst who faces an underwriting affiliation. While large investors do not place buy pressure on a stock following an affiliated buy or strong buy recommendation, small investors do. Large investors react more weakly to positive affiliated recommendations than to unaffiliated recommendations, while small traders react almost exactly the same to both affiliated and unaffiliated recommendations. Return results show that following affiliated recommendations consistently earns lower returns than following unaffiliated recommendations, over many possible time horizons, and with many portfolio strategies. Small traders make losses by naively following affiliated analyst recommendations. Finally, additional competition does not seem to solve the problem. Affiliated analysts issue even higher recommendations when they face more competition. It is possible that small traders simply cannot identify underwriting affiliation, or that it is too costly for them to research an analyst's background. In this case, investors should react more cautiously to recommendations in general, but instead our abnormal trade imbalance results suggest that small traders react more strongly to the general recommendation than large traders. Alternatively, small traders should focus on analysts from non-underwriting firms. Instead, small traders react less to these analysts. Our results thus far indicate that analyst incentives affect their recommendations, with competition among analysts failing to mitigate the effect, and that small investors fail to account for these distortionary incentives. Overall, the traditional economic assumption of uninformed agents taking into account the incentives of informed agents, does not seem to hold for small investors in the market for information about stocks".
The Cross-Section of Analyst Recommendations, Sorescu and Subrahmanyam, 2004
We analyze the relation between analyst attributes (years of experience, reputation of the analysts' brokerage houses) and the short- and long-term price reactions to recommendations made by the analysts. We find that in the long-term, the recommendation changes of highly experienced analysts outperform those of low-experience ones. In addition, investors appear to overreact to dramatic upgrades of low-ability analysts, and underreact to small upgrades by high-ability analysts. These results are consistent with the Griffin and Tversky (1992) argument that agents place too much emphasis on the strength of the signal (the dramatic nature of the event) and insufficient emphasis on the weight (the ability of the analyst making the recommendation). Agents are prone to attaching undue importance to the enthusiasm in a recommendation letter, and not enough importance to the credibility of the recommendation writer. Since the investor bias is stronger for more extreme (high-strength) signals, the market overreacts to such signals. At the same time, the market underreacts to the weight (quality) of the signal. The net result is that prices experience reversals (overreaction) following high-strength, low-weight signals and drift (underreaction) following high-weight, low-strength signals.
Empirical Model of Stock Analysts' Recommendations: Market Fundamentals, Conflicts of Interest, and Peer Effects, Bajari and Krainer, 2004
"Our empirical results suggest that recommendations depend most heavily on publicly observable information about the stocks and on industry norms. In most of our specifications, the existence of an investment banking deal does not have a statistically significant relationship with analysts' stock recommendations".
Analysts' Conflict of Interest and Biases in Earnings Forecasts, Chan, Karceski, Lakonishok, 2003
"Analysts' earnings forecasts are influenced by their desire to win investment banking clients".
Analyzing the Analysts: Career Concerns and Biased Earnings Forecasts, Hong, Kubik, 2001
"This paper examines the career concerns of security analysts. We relate long histories of their earnings forecasts to job separations. We find that relatively accurate past forecasts lead to favorable career outcomes such as remaining at or moving up to a high status (large, prestigious) brokerage house. Controlling for accuracy, optimistic forecasts relative to the consensus increase the chances of favorable job separations. Job separations depend much less on accuracy for analysts who cover stocks that are underwritten by their brokerage houses. Such analysts are also much more likely to be rewarded for optimistic forecasts than other analysts. Furthermore, job separations were much less sensitive to accuracy and somewhat more sensitive to optimism during the stock market mania of the late 1990s. These findings suggest that the well-documented analyst forecast optimism bias is likely due to incentives to promote stocks.
Conflict of Interest and the Credibility of Underwriter Analyst Recommendations, Michaely and Womack, 1999
"We show that stocks that underwriter analysts recommend perform more poorly than "buy" recommendations by unaffiliated brokers prior to, at the time of, and subsequent to the recommendation date. We conclude that the recommendations by underwriter analysts show significant evidence of bias. We show also that the market does not recognize the full extent of this bias. The results suggest a potential conflict of interest inherent in the different functions that investment bankers perform".
Prepared Witness Testimony The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Mr. James S. Chanos, President & Founder Kynikos Associates, Ltd., 2002
"It was clear to us that most of these analysts were hopelessly conflicted over the investment banking and advisory fees that Enron was paying to their firms. I can't think of one major financial fraud in the United States in the last ten years that was uncovered by a major brokerage house analyst or an outside accounting firm. Almost every such fraud ultimately was unmasked by short sellers and/or financial journalists. In addition, a company's adherence to GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles), does not mean that the company's earnings and financial position are not overstated. GAAP allows too much leeway in the use of estimates, forecasts and other inherently unknowable things to portray current results. In the hands of dishonest management (a rapidly growing subset in my opinion), GAAP can mislead far more than they inform! Further, I believe that certain aspects of GAAP, particularly accounting for stock options in the United States, are basically a fraud themselves".
The Bubble and the Media, Dyck and Zingales, 2002
"What went wrong with recent corporate scandals, such as Enron and Worldcom? To answer this question we delve deeper into the economics of information collection and dissemination. We claim that the problem is not just lack of appropriate disclosure or legislation, but a more fundamental one: deficient incentives for the media to expose poor governance practices. We argue that corporate reporters have strong incentives to enter into a quid pro quo relationship with their sources, where they receive private information in exchange for a positive spin on companies' news. Any attempt to report negative information or simply to question the existing optimistic consensus incurs constant harassment from the target company. One UBS PaineWebber analyst was fired three hours after issuing a warning about financial deterioration at Enron, followed by a retraction of the negative statement and UBS PaineWebber's issuance of an optimistic outlook on Enron's future. During an investor conference call, a caller who criticized Enron's delays in releasing financial information was labeled an "asshole" by Skilling. Similarly, Fortune's journalist McLean was labeled "unethical" by Skilling, who hung up on her. Furthermore, the chairman of Enron, Ken Lay, called Fortune's managing editor Rik Kirkland, implying that McLean's piece should be cut. The incentives to report bad information about a company change dramatically as the company's stock price deteriorates".
ENRON Uncovering the Uncovered Story, SHERMAN
Too frequently ... financial journalists "outsourced their critical thinking skills to Wall Street analysts, who are not independent and, by definition, were employed to do nothing but spin positive company news in order to sell stock". "Business reporters should probably not quote analysts at all. If they do quote them, they should at least identify the firm and the firm's relationship to the company that they're talking about". "The fall of Enron is not merely a story about a company that cooked its books and lied to its employees, but a window into larger, more systemic questions about the role of the press in making sure that important policy shifts are debated and discussed". "In the end, what can the press learn from this affair? Certain things are obvious: Business reporters should ponder their reliance on Wall Street analysts, while expanding their contacts to include consumer advocates, mavericks, and independent-minded employees".

From Wall Street To Web Street: Public Perceptions and Misperceptions About Online Brokerage, Investor Protection And Securities Bureau, 1999
"Aggressive advertising in this burgeoning online industry has fueled the message of convenience, speed, easy wealth, and the risk of "being left behind" in the new online era. As described by the SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt, "when firms, again and again, tell investors that on-line investing can make them rich, it creates unrealistic expectations. What follows are a few examples of how some of the advertising practices and advertising content of online brokers may color the expectations of online investors (Clicking the mouse is easy, making sounds investing decisions is not; "Making a Trade" is not executing a trade; Cheap, easy, peripatetic trading does not equal successful trading; Speed, access, and reliability is dependent upon system availability; All trades require a broker-dealer; The truth about commissions)".

An Analyst Receives a Time Out From Altera, Morgenson, NYT, 2005
"For the 25 years that Tad LaFountain has been a technology stock analyst on Wall Street, he has often written negatively about the strategies or prospects of the companies he followed. Not once did a company retaliate, he said. Until now. Mr. LaFountain, who follows 21 semiconductor companies at Wells Fargo Securities in New York, said yesterday that he was dropping coverage of the Altera Corporation, an industry giant, because its executives had told him they would not take his phone calls, would not let him ask questions on analyst conference calls and would no longer give him the information he needed to analyze its business".

שני תחקירי טלוויזיה של רשת PBS ותוכנית , מוצעים בשידור וידאו ברשת לנוחיותכם:
"גדול יותר מאנרון" - מדוע שערוריות העסקים הגדולות בארה"ב הן רק קצה קצהו של קרחון המרמה ותאוות-הבצע ומה צריכים לדעת המשקיעים.
"לתקן את וול-סטריט" - הסיפור של וורלדקום ובנקאי ההשקעות שלה, הוא סיפור אמריקאי של שאיפות גדולות, כסף גדול, ורמאויות ענקיות. השאלה עכשיו היא האם נעשה דבר לתקן את וול-סטריט?

לומניס, אנליסטים והעיתונות הכלכלית - הזווית הישראלית.
כיצד אנליסטים כשלו, שלא במפתיע, בתפקידם וכיצד עיתונות כלכלית בוחרת במודע שלא לחקור ולהסתמך על רקורד אנליסטים קלוקל והרגעות מנהלי חברה מוטים, תוך יצירת מצג שווא של הבנה ומומחיות.
טארו, אנליסטים ומשחקים עם דו"חות כספיים - זווית ישראלית נוספת (ולא אחרונה).
דוגמא נוספת לפעולה בדיעבד בלבד של עיתונות כלכלית ואנליסטים, בניגוד למצופה והנדרש ותוך כדי פגיעה ממשית בקהל היעד הפרטי.

ניגודי עניינים בפעילות מתווכים פיננסים, בנק ישראל, 2003.
"הפוטנציאל לניגוד עניינים קיים לא רק בפעילות של הבנקים אלא גם בזו של מתווכים פיננסים אחרים, כשהם עוסקים במספר פעילויות יחד" (מתן אשראי, חיתום, ניהול תיקים וייעוץ, החזקת מניות כבעלי עניין ועוד).