Audrey Deschenes
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Audrey Deschenes in Trading. Let's get it started!,

Analysts can’t agree about these stocks — and that could make you money

Bloomberg News

Analysts are split on Exxon Mobil.

Now that we’re in the middle of earnings season, it’s easy to say that the quarterly game of companies “beating” earnings estimates is just a game. The unfortunate thing is that the ill-advised focus on short-term results can send a company’s shares down rapidly, whether or not business in that three-month period is part of a longer-term trend. Also, analysts have a habit of piling on and downgrading a company after bad news has been announced. In that way, what do the ratings really mean? Those ratings, en masse, are highly questionable. Want proof? Consider this: There are no S&P 500 SPX, +0.13%  companies with majority “sell,” or equivalent, ratings among sell-side analysts. Here are a few more numbers about ratings of S&P 500 companies: • Of 505 S&P 500 stocks (because five of the companies have two classes of common shares included in the index), 224 have majority “hold,” or neutral, ratings. • A total of 225 have majority “buy,” or equivalent, ratings. Two have 100% “buy” ratings: Align Technology Inc. ALGN, +1.31% and Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL, +0.34%Those are impressive votes of confidence.