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TheStreet Open House

Gutless Wall Street Analysts Irresponsible on Best Buy

Stocks in this article: BBY NFLX AMZN

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I want to highlight comments made by UBS analyst Michael Lasser in Friday's Is Best Buy's Stock Now A Buy, published at TheStreet by Laurie Kulikowski.

  • We think the story has changed ...
  • We believe management has made smart decisions here, and is coping valiantly with tough positioning. Also, we realize that holiday is a bad time to judge the efficacy of emerging initiatives, so we model a much better showing in upcoming quarters.
  • We think part of the reason why the promotional environment was so tight was that other players like WMT and AMZN saw the progress that BBY was making in categories TVs and tablets and it motivated them to respond in kind over the holidays.

This is the type of trash we get from Wall Street analysts on a regular basis. And it's dangerous, toxic and, ultimately, even after such a huge win for the stock in 2013, a great way to help people lose money or give away gains they have yet to book (and never took because of your original recklessness). 

Allow me to explain my rationale with an indirect, but relevant example, followed by more specific dialogue that, to be fair, applies to dozens of other analysts, not just Lasser.  

Very few have the guts to say I got the stock right, but the company wrong or vice versa. I know, off of the top of my head only two -- Richard Tullo at Albert Fried and Michael Pachter at Wedbush.

Personally, like Tullo and Pachter, I acknowledged the mistakes I made on Netflix (NFLX - Get Report).

While I got the company right in 2011, I should have had the sense to ride the stock's momentum. Sure it crashed eventually so part of me deserves a pat on the back for staying the course. My coverage of NFLX made people money in 2011. I have the emails with offers of lunch or dinner and drinks to prove it. For the record, I accepted none. That said, I should not have been so stubborn on 2011's run to $300. I could have turned bearish on the stock after it had had its irrational and seemingly endless surge.

But I practiced humility and good sense, learned from my mistakes and, while remaining bearish on Netflix the company, touted NFLX the stock as a momentum buy as early as Summer of 2012. And I made no bones about riding the momo all the way past $300.

So let's consider what Lasser had to say about Best Buy (BBY - Get Report).

We think the story has changed ...

Bull crap, man. The story didn't change. You got it wrong in the first place.

We believe management has made smart decisions here, and is coping valiantly with tough positioning. Also, we realize that holiday is a bad time to judge the efficacy of emerging initiatives, so we model a much better showing in upcoming quarters.

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