A Nasty October Surprise On The Ledger BooksGeoffrey Smith
One recent morning, Herman E. Mitchell got an unwelcome jolt with his coffee and newspaper. Analysts, the paper said, were slashing their third-quarter estimates of earnings for Ford Motor Co. after the auto maker admitted to sales problems in Europe. Next day, Mitchell's Ford shares fell 4%, to 38 3/4. And that was just the latest in a series of nasty earnings surprises that have battered the Boston-based medical researcher's portfolio: His Stac Electronics shares, for example, lost 42% of their value in one day, after analysts cut ratings on the software startup. "I'm getting whipped," says Mitchell. "I was sucked into the market thinking Bush would pump up the economy before the election.It was an absolutemistake."
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