Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Earnings Smackdown: The best and worst Apple analysts of Q4 2010

October 19, 2010: 5:18 AM ET

In the quarterly battle between bloggers and the Street, it's a split decision

Bloggers green, pros pink. Click to enlarge.

This one can be summarized succinctly: The amateurs took the top and bottom lines; the pros swept unit shares and gross margin.

In our ranking of the best and worst Apple (AAPL) analysts for Q4 2010, which lists them based on how accurately they predicted revenue and earnings per share, the top three spots -- and nine of the top 13 -- were taken by bloggers.

In the more comprehensive Deagol Ranking (see below), which weighs analysts' performances in all the categories we polled, the pros took the first seven spots.

Deagol's list and the full annotated spreadsheet are pasted below the fold.

Hats off to three bloggers -- Financial Alchemist's Turley Muller, Apple Finance Board's Alexis Cabot and Deagol's AAPL Model Daniel Tello -- who topped our list, with a tip of the hat to Bullish Cross' Andy Zaky, who predicted Apple's EPS to within a penny.

Everybody underestimated those blow-out iPhone sales, but special mention goes to RBC's Mike Abramsky, who underestimated them less than anybody. Bernstein's Toni Saccanaghi took the honors for Mac unit sales. Canaccord Genuity's Mike Walkley nailed the iPod number.

And although nearly everybody overestimated how many iPads would be sold, three analysts published estimates that came within 188,000 units: Rodman & Renshaw's Ashok Kumar, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch's Scott Craig and William Blair's Ralph Schackart.

We're not sure what to say about Hudson Square's Daniel Ernst, who took first place in gross margin by a rounding error but came in dead last in revenue and EPS and missed the iPhone number by 4.6 million units.

Below: The full spreadsheet and the Deagol's Ranking.

Green: best estimate. Red: worst. Light green: 2nd or 3rd best. Pink: 2nd or 3rd worst.

Deagol's Ranking:

See also:

[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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