Is Marvell (MRVL) a Buy as Wall Street Analysts Look Optimistic?

When deciding whether to buy, sell, or hold a stock, investors often rely on analyst recommendations. Media reports about rating changes by these brokerage-firm-employed (or sell-side) analysts often influence a stock's price, but are they really important?

Let's take a look at what these Wall Street heavyweights have to say about Marvell Technology (MRVL) before we discuss the reliability of brokerage recommendations and how to use them to your advantage.

Marvell currently has an average brokerage recommendation (ABR) of 1.15, on a scale of 1 to 5 (Strong Buy to Strong Sell), calculated based on the actual recommendations (Buy, Hold, Sell, etc.) made by 27 brokerage firms. An ABR of 1.15 approximates between Strong Buy and Buy.

Of the 27 recommendations that derive the current ABR, 24 are Strong Buy and two are Buy. Strong Buy and Buy respectively account for 88.9% and 7.4% of all recommendations.



Check price target & stock forecast for Marvell here>>>

While the ABR calls for buying Marvell, it may not be wise to make an investment decision solely based on this information. Several studies have shown limited to no success of brokerage recommendations in guiding investors to pick stocks with the best price increase potential.

Do you wonder why? As a result of the vested interest of brokerage firms in a stock they cover, their analysts tend to rate it with a strong positive bias. According to our research, brokerage firms assign five "Strong Buy" recommendations for every "Strong Sell" recommendation.

In other words, their interests aren't always aligned with retail investors, rarely indicating where the price of a stock could actually be heading. Therefore, the best use of this information could be validating your own research or an indicator that has proven to be highly successful in predicting a stock's price movement.

Zacks Rank, our proprietary stock rating tool with an impressive externally audited track record, categorizes stocks into five groups, ranging from Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) to Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), and is an effective indicator of a stock's price performance in the near future. Therefore, using the ABR to validate the Zacks Rank could be an efficient way of making a profitable investment decision.

Zacks Rank Should Not Be Confused With ABR

Although both Zacks Rank and ABR are displayed in a range of 1-5, they are different measures altogether.

The ABR is calculated solely based on brokerage recommendations and is typically displayed with decimals (example: 1.28). In contrast, the Zacks Rank is a quantitative model allowing investors to harness the power of earnings estimate revisions. It is displayed in whole numbers -- 1 to 5.

It has been and continues to be the case that analysts employed by brokerage firms are overly optimistic with their recommendations. Because of their employers' vested interests, these analysts issue more favorable ratings than their research would support, misguiding investors far more often than helping them.

On the other hand, earnings estimate revisions are at the core of the Zacks Rank. And empirical research shows a strong correlation between trends in earnings estimate revisions and near-term stock price movements.

Furthermore, the different grades of the Zacks Rank are applied proportionately across all stocks for which brokerage analysts provide earnings estimates for the current year. In other words, at all times, this tool maintains a balance among the five ranks it assigns.

There is also a key difference between the ABR and Zacks Rank when it comes to freshness. When you look at the ABR, it may not be up-to-date. Nonetheless, since brokerage analysts constantly revise their earnings estimates to reflect changing business trends, and their actions get reflected in the Zacks Rank quickly enough, it is always timely in predicting future stock prices.

Is MRVL a Good Investment?

Looking at the earnings estimate revisions for Marvell, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has declined 40.9% over the past month to $1.40.

Analysts' growing pessimism over the company's earnings prospects, as indicated by strong agreement among them in revising EPS estimates lower, could be a legitimate reason for the stock to plunge in the near term.

The size of the recent change in the consensus estimate, along with three other factors related to earnings estimates, has resulted in a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) for Marvell. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stocks here >>>>

Therefore, it could be wise to take the Buy-equivalent ABR for Marvell with a grain of salt.

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Marvell Technology, Inc. (MRVL) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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