A tale of misdirection told in three charts and a video.
First, most professional analysts failed to anticipate that Apple on Wednesday would report the kind of results that most independent analysts saw coming. In my quarterly Best-and-Worst-Apple-analyst contest, the indies took eight of the top 10 slots: (click to enlarge)
The stock popped under heavy buying pressure (some 70 million shares changed hands over the next two days). The pros, many caught with their 12-month price targets deep below water, scrambled to catch up:
Even then, most of those targets were overtaken by the market. When Apple closed Friday at $255.82, up $7.06 to a new all-time high, 20 were still underwater:
Taking the bullet for every sell-side analyst who advised their clients to stay out of Apple during its long run-up, Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi offered a modified mea culpa on CNBC:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story repeated what appears to be a typo at Yahoo Finance. According to Google Finance, 31 million shares changed hands on Thursday (not 3.5 billion) and 35 million on Friday.