See here, here, here, here and here. So why does CNBC introduce him as a “top Apple analyst”? I did some research.
The first reference to the accolade I found was a 2013 issue of Institutional Investor that put Sacconaghi on its “All-America Research Team” as the No. 1 analyst in IT Hardware:
Since 2002, Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s A.M. (Toni) Sacconaghi has been the sector champ. The Hall of Famer, 48, “stands above all others in his thoughtful analysis” marvels one client.
His reputation as a star tech analyst, however, goes way back. A longer write-up in 2011—when Institutional Investor put him on its list of The Best Analysts of All Time:—mentioned that he’d been their No. 1 information technology specialist for ten years in a row:
No. 35: A.M. Sacconaghi He joined Bernstein in 1998 after working as a technology consultant at McKinsey & Co. and launched coverage of the IT hardware sector in the fall of 1999. The following year, in June, he made one of the first great contrarian calls of his career when he downgraded Hewlett-Packard Co. from outperform to market perform and cut his earnings forecast after meeting with executives of the Palo Alto, California–based manufacturer of computers and peripherals. He thought their growth forecasts were too optimistic and believed the shares, then at a split-adjusted $55.13, were fully valued. The stock price slid nearly 7 percent on the day of Sacconaghi’s downgrade; that’s when “it became clear to me that investors were listening,” he says… In November, HP stunned the Street when it reported that results for that year’s fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in October, fell 10 cents per share short of consensus expectations. By then the stock had plummeted 45.7 percent, to $29.96; during the same period the sector declined by 20.6 percent. Investors showed their appreciation by voting Sacconaghi straight in to second place in the Enterprise Hardware sector of the 2001 All-America Research Team.
He has ranked every year since — twice in 2004, when he was No. 1 in IT Hardware and a runner-up in Imaging Technology — for a total of 12 appearances to date. This year marks his tenth consecutive first-place finish in IT Hardware. Sacconaghi made another great contrarian call in 2005. At that time IBM Corp. had a reputation for “being opaque, slow growing and a company that did a lot of financial engineering,” he says. Even so, he believed that the Armonk, New York–based technology and computer consulting outfit was “compellingly valued, would show improvement in its services business and had several positive forces that should help results.” He upgraded the stock from market perform to outperform in July of that year, at $72.36, and again the market responded immediately. By the time he moved it back to market perform, in March 2011, the shares had rocketed 117.8 percent, to $157.63, trumping even the sector’s impressive 102.5 percent gain over that period.
Today, according to TipRanks, Sacconaghi covers just three stocks, Apple, Tesla and HP, and he’s down on all three:
Among the 5,777 analysts that TipRanks tracks, he’s No. 281 with a “best rating” more than 10 years old:
My take: Sacconaghi is, by nature, a contrarian. I wonder if he’s trying to recreate the 20-year old downgrade on HP that made him famous. So far, no reply to my request for comment.
See also: Apple 3.0’s Toni Sacconaghi archives