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It's All About the Numbers

Bristol is getting slammed because Vanlev's success had already been factored into analysts' estimates.
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So what's the big deal with

Bristol

(BMY) - Get Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Report

? It's called the numbers. Vanlev was "in the numbers," meaning that this new drug was so important to the welfare of Bristol-Myers that analysts

already

had calculated it into the estimates. Now those numbers have to be reduced.

Substantially

TheStreet Recommends

.

Analysts live and die by the numbers. If they can raise numbers, they usually reiterate buys or say something nice. If they can't bump numbers, they stay neutral.

But when they have to cut numbers, they cut ratings. This hypertension drug was supposed to be huge, so the number cuts are huge and the downgrades almost have to occur by rote.

Hence the decline as the Street deserts this once-loved company

en masse

.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

jjcletters@thestreet.com.