Refer to the J.P. Morgan Tells Analysts to Warn of a Downgrade article. Then, in a Word document, answer the following questions:
- 1 – What is meant by “analysts’ independence”? When and how might analysts’ independence be compromised? What pressures do analysts face that might reduce their independence? Is maintaining a “buy” recommendation on a stock after its price has fallen evidence that an analysts’ independence is compromised? Do analysts who currently recommend investing in tech stocks and the broader stock market lack independence?
- 2 – What exactly does Peter Houghton’s memo say? Does the memo say that analysts should compromise their independence? How does the memo raise questions about analysts’ independence? Does it make any difference whether “analysts aren’t pressured to change recommendations, but only to make factual changes”?
- 3 – What are the “buy side” and “sell side”? Why might the “sell side” be unwilling to make “sell” recommendations on stocks? If the “buy side” has its own analysts, would the “buy side” ever look at “sell side” analysts’ reports?
- 4 – Why might “sell side” companies extend the “normal, common courtesy” of warning firms before they downgrade their stocks? Would you consider this good business practice? What is Mr. Barkocy’s “buy side” criticism of such practices? Why might the “sell side” ignore such criticism?
- 5 – Former SEC chairman, Arthur Levitt, criticized analysts in January this year in a speech in Philadelphia. Read the speech “The Future for America’s Investors”(https://www.sec.gov/news/speech/spch457.htm). Levitt comments that a “sell” recommendation from an analyst is as common as a Philly steak sandwich without the cheese. If analysts don’t issue “sell” recommendations, how do they advise investors that they should sell certain stocks?