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. Related: 5 Trades to Profit From the Selloff 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.
Trina SolarSolar stocks have been sold heavily in 2011 as the industry has struggled, with weak economies across the globe and excess supply of solar panels. Trina Solar ( TSL) shares have dropped a whopping 74% since the beginning of May. On Sept. 14, Jefferies downgraded Trina Solar to hold from buy and lowered its price target on the stock to $10 from $21. From current prices, the $10 target would represent a 35% gain on the stock. I don't know about you, but buying a stock for a 35% gain seems like a good idea to me. The downgrade makes little sense here. The average Wall Street estimate for the company this year is $1.63 per share. In the following year, profits are expected to grow by 18% to $1.92 per share. At current prices, investors can buy the stock today for 5 times current-year estimated earnings. This stock is a buy, not a hold. Trina Solar, one of the top holdings of Lee Ainslie's Maverick Capital as of the most recently reported period, 7 Solar Stocks That Could Shine.
Varian Medical Systems
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