MINNEAPOLIS ( Stockpickr) -- Many books could be written discussing the virtues -- or lack thereof -- of Wall Street research. What probably began as an innocent extension of the brokerage business has since become something loathed by many yet still relied upon by the majority of market participants. Like it or not, analysis from the supposed best and brightest financial minds is here to stay.
Individual investors first began questioning Wall Street research during the dot-com boom. The media helped put a spotlight on research during those heady times, when stocks would soar on demand-fueled hope. Often long after the gains, a Wall Street analyst would put a buy recommendation on the stock. On the downside, a stock like Enron or Worldcom would collapse, and only after substantial losses would Wall Street come forward with a sell recommendation.
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Many investors believe that the much of what passes for research lacks individual thought and usually comes a day late and a dollar short.To be fair, there are plenty of analysts adding value to the investor equation, but it has been my experience that most of what comes out of Wall Street is worthless. In fact given the institutionalization of research, there is an opportunity to take advantage of the system as it stands. On a weekly basis, I use analyst estimates of earnings to identify trading opportunities. Today, I want to use Wall Street downgrades to help identify investing opportunities. Although the industry has gotten much better with respect to downgrades before a stock sells off, there are plenty of examples where they are still far too late to the game to save anyone any money. With that in mind, here are five recently downgraded stocks to buy today.