Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Best Analysts: 2006 Outlook

Last spring, we published our second annual rankings of Wall Street's best brokerage analysts. Using data from our partners at StarMine, we named the ten analysts with the best track records in the prior calendar year in each of two areas: accuracy in earnings forecasts and quality of buy, hold and sell recommendations.

As part of our year-end Investment Guide, we checked in with a few honorees in both categories to get their big-picture thinking for 2006 and the stocks they deem attractive now. The ten individuals listed in the accompanying table hail from a diverse group of employers, ranging from financial powerhouses, like Citigroup and Bank of America, to smaller outfits, such as Ferris, Baker Watts.

Overall, the mood is bullish, although there are certainly pockets of caution. Matthew Snowling of Friedman, Billings, Ramsey, for example, says he's wary of the prospects of big money managers in his investment-services coverage area, preferring instead online brokers, like E*Trade Financial. Ivy Zelman, who tracks home builders and makers of household durables for Credit Suisse First Boston, thinks a diversified company like Fortune Brands will be a best bet in a tough housing market.

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