What would we do without stock analysts?

Today’s MDJ provides good background information on Apple’s quarterly financial conference call coming later this afternoon. Matt & Company’s analysis of the stock “analyst” situation is spot on:

If Apple beats its own estimates by 10%, those results are merely “in line with analyst expectations.” If Apple’s estimates were spot on, then the company didn’t live up to those “analyst expectations.” In a sane world, the market would punish the analysts for missing their forecast, but that’s not where we live. The analysts would blame Apple, not themselves, and issue feverish research notes accusing the company of “underperforming” and “bursting its bubble.” The stock price, in turn, would summarily fall.
[Emphasis added. –R] So like many segments of our society, the “analysts” will play the blame game if Apple’s figures don’t match up with theirs. It’s not their fault their projections were wrong; it’s Apple’s fault for failing to meet the analysts’ expectations, even if Apple’s figures fall in line with Apple’s projections. Much like how a certain Mr. O’Grady and other rumor-mongers blame Apple when new product specifications fail to match up to their caffeine-driven imaginations. MDJ’s taking-to-task of the anaylsts continues:
Still, one shouldn’t ignore the possibility that Apple will post a solid quarter that looks “bad” simply because it doesn’t meet the fantasies of analysts who are busily inventing video iPods, media servers, and Apple-branded cell phones in their feverish little heads. The exuberance has placed Apple in the uncomfortable position of needing to beat its own guidance by 10% or more just to keep up with expectations.
UPDATE, 7:55 PM: It’s all moot, at least this time, as Apple blows away everyone’s projections. [Via Matt D..]