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Buy, sell or hangup?Analyst Ratings Decoded

These days, it seems that every Wall Street analyst has his or her own code for communicating when to buy, sell or hold stocks. With help from Mick Shmlup at Swushshlip & Schlupp Capital Management, we provide this special report to help explain the ratings and what they mean. 

Buy: This means that the analyst has already bought the stock and wants your purchase to help drive his investment higher.

Buy (OPM): Buy the stock, but not with your own money.

Buy and hold: Analysts often issue this recommendation in order to encourage you to stay with a stock even if it fluctuates, say, losing 80% of its value.

Kiss and tell: How analysts work with companies during an IPO.

Buy don't hold: This is what the analysts do after they purchase stock.

Buy and hold with ten-foot barge pole: This is reserved for new stock issues when the analyst is pressured to make a buy recommendation but knows the company has spent more on Aeron chairs than on Engineering.

Strong Buy: This means you should really buy the stock as opposed to a regular "buy" which generally means you should sell.

Long Term Buy: The analyst is sure that the price will change in the future, but is not sure whether its going to go up or down. May recommend dollar-cost averaging as a way to avoid looking stupid.

Short Term Buy: The company may not be in business too much longer.

Accumulate: Similar to buy, but may also be used to recommend buying de-listed stock certificates on eBay as gag gifts for former clients.

Hold: Rather than say "Sell", analysts will sometimes use a more subtle recommendation indicating you should dump this sucker faster than a beach-front rental in Afghanistan.

Source of funds: This is code again indicating if you need short term liquidity, say to buy groceries, you should dump this stock.

Neutral: How the analyst feels about this week's football pool.

Above Average: The analyst's salary and bonus.

Below Average: The analyst's IQ.

Attractive: What the analyst thinks of his new assistant.

Speculative hold: What the analyst hopes to do with his new assistant.

Avoid: What the assistant thinks of her boss.

Market Outperform: Indicates that the stock should do better than the other losers previously recommended.

Market Underperformer: The analyst has already started shorting the stock.

Market Out to Lunch: Indicates the analyst cannot figure out what is going on and starts drinking heavily.

Market Undertaker: Best outcome is liquidation either of the company or of the CEO.

Market Nervous: The analyst is liquidating in his shorts.

No coverage: The analyst has lost his job.

Sell: No such recommendation.



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