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A new survey of the accuracy of forecasts by European financial analysts finds huge differences in the quality of their predictions. More details from the BBC's business reporter Mark Gregory.
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money 27th July 2001

Conflicting financial predictions for Europe

NEWS 1  
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Billions of dollars can be added or wiped off the share value of major companies on the basis of analysts' assessments of their likely financial performance. But the predictions are often wrong. A new survey by the consultancy firm AQ, based in London, finds huge variations in the quality of financial research in different parts of Europe.

Most accurate are predictions by financial analysts based in the Netherlands. Least accurate are forecasts coming out of Italy, and more surprisingly perhaps Germany. Britain, France and Spain come somewhere in the middle. In no country are the forecasts very accurate.


wiped off - when money is wiped off the value, or the price of shares falls

analysts - experts who are employed by banks, stockbrokers and investment groups to make judgments about the success of companies which their clients may want to invest in

likely - probably

variations - differences

NEWS 2  
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The survey says that in industry sectors such as telecommunications the quality may be getting worse. There's also potential for a conflict of interest. The survey points out that the big banks and investment houses that employ most analysts offer a range of other financial services to business. So analysts often end up commenting on their employers' customers.

For every analysts' recommendation that investors should sell a share, there are more than ten suggesting they buy or keep a stock. AQ, the group that did the latest survey, says there's a gap in the market for traditional, small, independent stockbrokers, offering truly unbiased investment research. They used to rule Europe's stock markets. Now, they are a dying breed.


points out - if you point something out, you cause people to notice it or look at it

end up - if you end up doing something, you do it even though you did not originally intend to

a gap in the market - a service or product that is not there in the market but should be there, because there is a demand for it

unbiased - if something is unbiased it is done fairly without showing prejudice or favouritism

a dying breed - a particular sort of person who is becoming increasingly rare


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