Scandal or Goof? Analyst Tracker Icon Is Called Into Question

Someone’s going to get fired, fined or thrown in jail for this one. A recently released research report from a trio of finance professors claims to have found a pattern of, ahem, revisionism going on within Thomson Financial’s I/B/E/S database of stock-analyst recommendations.

Someone’s going to get fired, fined or thrown in jail for this one. A recently released research report from a trio of finance professors claims to have found a pattern of, ahem, revisionism going on within Thomson Financial’s I/B/E/S database of stock-analyst recommendations. Is it database error, a statistical anomaly or fraud? Could analysts somehow be correcting past mistakes? According to published reports, Thomson officials have denied any wrongdoing. Mike Thompson, the head of research for Thomson Financial, called it a “hatchet job” to Barrons’ Bill Alpert, who first reported on the story. Here’s the research paper; and here is the Slate story and the Barron’s article (subscription required) from March 5. Could be much ado about nothing, or another embarrassment for Wall Street.

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