Apple at $255.82: Was there ever a sorrier bunch of sell-side analysts?

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)

apple analysts three stooges

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:

apple analysts three stooges

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:

apple analysts three stooges

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.


  1. Ralph McDarmont said:
    My morning email said trillion! Not million or billion.

    November 2, 2019
  2. David Emery said:
    I think I object to the lead picture. The 3 Stooges were funny! Nothing funny about the “professional losers” that cover AAPL 🙂 🙂

    November 2, 2019
  3. Fred Stein said:
    There is none so blind as (s)he who cannot see.

    Most of that sorry lot are stuck in the “can’t innovate” mind set. Hence, they obsess on the iPhone business.

    As Joe B pointed out, AAPL deserves a higher multiple due to innovations and growth from wearables and services. Key words – innovation, growth. Not so hard to see.

    November 2, 2019
    • David Emery said:
      Not just ‘innovation’ and ‘growth’, also ‘multiple products & services’. Apple doesn’t get much credit for (a) being more than just a hardware or software or service company, or (b) doing such a good job tying those 3 domains together.

      The ‘revenue per unit customer’ is about the only metric that addresses this synergy, and even that doesn’t recognize the strategy that produces the result.

      November 2, 2019

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