Red Faced Over Big Blue: Why The Analysts Blew It

Some 50 securities analysts--who collectively earn eight figures in salaries and bonuses, hang dozens of MBA sheepskins on their office walls, and tally up several hundred years of on-the-job experience--spend most of their working hours doing nothing but tracking the travails of IBM. They quiz IBM executives about new products and shipments, sound out the company's customers to see if they're satisfied with products and service, ask them about buying plans, and then cross-check their findings by running the same drill on Big Blue's competitors. When it's all done, they distill their findings into earnings forecasts.

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