How to Read an Analyst Note

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First off, what is an analyst note and what's the function of an analyst?

Equity analysts do huge amounts of primary and secondary research in order to value a company and recommend to investors whether to buy a stock, or hold or sell it if they already own it.

Analysts from major investment banks and other firms are polled by data companies like FactSet or Bloomberg, which calculate consensus estimates for public companies.

Analysts predict earnings for companies. They all have varying opinions over what the earnings for a given period will be. There's a consensus estimate, or an average of all projections, that reflects what the market is expecting. 

But you have to read the analyst notes to understand the justifications behind the analyst's estimates, and decide if you think those reasons make sense.

Analysts do two things in their notes and reports: they write a lot of words -- prose -- and they show you a lot of numbers.

For the rest of the explanation, watch the quick video above.