FORTUNE --Because he uses my data to make his point, I feel obliged to respond to AppleInvestor's Ernie Varitimos, who begins a piece posted Thursday with the observation that "there are few people on the planet that can destroy wealth faster than an Apple analyst."
While it's true, as he suggests, that a single ill-timed note by an analyst can wipe out billions of investor value, I'm not sure that justifies the broad brush with which Varitimos tars the whole class of sell-side Apple (AAPL) analysts -- good and bad.
"If they had real talent," he writes, "they'd be clawing for a spot on the brokerage sales desk, because that's where the real money is."
That joke, it turns out, like many of the points Varitimos makes, comes from Neil Costa's "The problems with fundamental analysis" -- which is also where Veritimos seems to get the idea that the kind of work Apple analysts do has no value whatsoever.
But Costa's point is a little more subtle. He's saying that fundamental analysis -- i.e. identifying an undervalued stock by calculating a company's intrinsic value -- is of limited utility when used in isolation to predict the behavior of a stock. He ticks off a variety of problems with relying on such factors as liquidity patterns, capital management, return on assets, dividend yield, earnings per share, etc.
According to Costa:
In the context of that last point about timing Costa goes on to discuss the pros and cons of technical analysis, which he seems to favor. And he ends his critique of fundamental analysis with an analogy that may strike a chord with investors who have stuck with Apple for its long ride down:
"Buying a stock based on the fact that a stock is fundamentally undervalued, alone, is the trading and investment equivalent of driving at high speed on the wrong side of a major highway, heading into the oncoming traffic and screaming 'I'll be fine, I'll be fine - I am driving a safe car'!"
Varitimos' piece is called How To Rate Apple Analysts, but be warned that it doesn't deliver on the title. "The answer is, don't even try," he writes in the last paragraph. "They're likely to be wrong."
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