The Zeppelin commanders who run the research operations at Merrill Lynch (MER) have told their analysts that 20% of the stocks which the cover must be rated as "sell", or "underperform" as the call it at the firm where they are bullish on America.
It is not quite clear what analysts will do if they do not actually have a fifth of the companies in their coverage universe that they think are dogs. They may simply have to take some of the ones where they have a "neutral" rating and downgrade them
According to Bloomberg, Merrill’s new “dispersion guidelines” will also limit “buy” ratings to 70 percent of the shares an analyst covers, while “neutral”-rated stocks won’t exceed 30 percent.
It may be that Merrill thinks that their analysts have no idea how to do their jobs, so the mother ship needs tol tell them what to do.
Douglas A. McIntyre