Trailing indicators: Analysts’ price targets vs. Apple’s shares by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @FortuneMagazine May 14, 2013, 10:08 AM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons Barclays’ Ben Reitzes FORTUNE — Whenever I write about a change in a particular analyst’s price target for Apple AAPL — his or her forecast of what the stock is likely to be worth in 12 months — readers invariably suggest that it would be more useful to show how that target has changed over time. I think I know what’s behind these suggestions: A suspicion, especially after the gyrations of the past year, that the analysts who follow Apple are not so much predicting the stock’s future value as scrambling to catch up to what the market has already done. I don’t have the data to test that thesis in a general way, but for many individual analysts it’s easily obtained: They provide a history of their forecasts as matter of course at the bottom of the notes they send to clients. I attached a sample. For the period in question, I think the charts speak for themselves — although I must say that some speak a lot more clearly than others. Goldman Sachs’ Bill Shope: Click to enlarge. Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty: Click to enlarge. Bernstein’s Toni Sacconaghi: Click to enlarge. Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster: Click to enlarge. Jefferies’ Peter Misek: Needham’s Charlie Wolf: Click to enlarge. BCG’s Colin Gillis: Click to enlarge. Merrill Lynch’s Scott Craig: Click to enlarge.