Averaging the Q1 2012 estimates of the six analysts with the best track records
Whisper numbers, according to Wikipedia, emerge from widening cracks in the spreadsheets maintained by Wall Street analysts. Quoting an article by Daniel Svensson, the entry explains:
Case in point: Katy Huberty’s team at Morgan Stanley, which calculated its Q1 2012 estimates for Apple AAPL on Oct. 19, right after the company reported its Q4 2011 earnings, and never updated them — despite, as the note Huberty sent to clients last Thursday makes clear, strong evidence right before their eyes:
That’s why if we were to bet on Apple (which we don’t) we’d stick with the folks who do revise their numbers as new information comes in. The estimates posted above are the averages of the six analysts — institutional or independent — whose revenue and earnings estimates were closest to the mark over the past four quarters. We tried this last quarter and it backfired (see here). For other approaches, see EarningsWhispers.com or whispernumber.com.
Below the fold: The spreadsheet from which our whisper numbers were derived. (See Can Apple still deliver an earnings surprise? for our analysis of that.) We’ll publish a best-and-worst analyst list in our quarterly Earnings Smackdown when Apple’s numbers come in. Tune in Tuesday after the markets close.
UPDATE: We adjusted our numbers slightly Tuesday morning when we realized that we’d neglected to factor in the estimates of the one institutional analyst — J.P. Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz — whose predictions over the past four quarters were prescient enough to land him in the top six.