It's pretty tough to match the inanity Greenfield puts out on a regular basis, but some coverage of Apple (AAPL) is on par. Blame Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. Blame Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets. And send Barron's Tiernan Ray to journalism school.
Comments from the bullish, but unassociated, Munster-White duo just this week highlight so much of what is wrong with the unruly dissemination of information from analysts to the media, then from the media to the investing public. Unless you look real hard or get lucky, there's pretty much zero context. And often, it's impossible to find the proper context anywhere, unless you pay for it.Let's consider Munster first. Barron's Ray relays analysts' comments to the masses on an almost daily basis. I can safely assume that he assembles his summaries after conversations with analysts and by reading through the regular notes and reports they put out. From those talks and handouts, he selects what he thinks is important and passes it along. With that in mind, in many cases, the messenger deserves as much blame as the source. On Monday, Ray included this tidbit from Munster:
Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster writes that his survey of 100 software developers at last week's WWDC event suggest the company's [Apple's] grip on programmers is strengthening.What does that sentence mean? What does Munster's insignificant data tell us? What should investors take away from a survey of 100 developers at an event where only a few thousand of many thousands were in attendance? That hardly represents reliable science. Does Munster think investors should act on this? Does Ray think Munster would want them to act on a tiny fraction of what he, presumably, had to say in the referenced note? Does anybody ask critical questions anymore? Or are we just living the dream, willfully throwing our money after a stock on every "aggressively bullish note" (Ray's words) a reporter handpicks for us? The next selection that Ray uses from White's work certainly could make a provocative headline. And It definitely makes us all aware of how much White loves Apple, but, again, what does it mean? Where's the utility? Where's the meaning? Does dropping 14 words from what, presumably and hopefully, was a much lengthier note do any service whatsoever to the reader, who quite possibly doubles as a trader or investor?
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