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If an Apple Analyst Switches Firms, Does a Tree Fall in the Forest?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Lots of Apple (AAPL - Get Report) stories making the rounds today with headlines saying something like ...

Apple is 'Poised For Liftoff' Says Cantor Fitzgerald Analyst Brian White

Or, worse yet ...

Cantor Fitzgerald Starts Apple (AAPL) at Buy with $777 Target

What a business!

Credit to the folks writing these stories. They add the context you might miss if you're simply a headline reader. Or maybe the headline wasn't provocative enough for you to click into the story. Or, worse yet, maybe the headline told you everything you think you need to know so you didn't read further.

Most stories I have seen (save one from Marketwatch) explain that the Cantor analyst, Brian White, comes to the firm from Topeka Securities where he had a $1,111 price target on AAPL shares. Now, with White as the analyst behind the action, Cantor is "starting" coverage on AAPL with a buy rating and $777 target.

But there's danger in the headlines and the notion that, technically, Cantor is "starting" AAPL coverage. Because quite a few investors might look at this and think OK, we're seeing a shift in sentiment. $777 price target. Time to get in. And they might not know it's an AAPL permabull -- resurfaced at a new Wall Street storefront -- with the same schtick.

White is one of these analysts turned media stars. He uses fancy price targets and now, through the magic of a resume update, goes all tabula rasa on us. It's as if his $1,111 price target that quite possibly cost investors serious coin when AAPL was trading at around $700 never even happened!

I'm of the belief that you should trust few people in your life. But I wouldn't take a free drink from most Wall Street analysts, let alone one with a rehashed thesis on a stock he got wrong passed off as somehow new.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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