Yes We Have No Strong Buys

From a Buckingham Research analyst report that crossed my (virtual) desk this morning. The subject is Netscreen, a publicly-traded firewall company whose stock Buckingham was extolling:

“We expect the conference call to be upbeat with conservative, yet positive, guidance.”

The preceding is one of those magnificently opaque bits of analyst phraseology that covers off all bases. They like the stock, yet they think that guidance will be conservative, but in an upbeat way. No matter what happens, the Buckingham analyst is in a perfect position to say “I told you so”. As Strunk & White say, if you’re going to obfuscate, at least have the decency to obfuscate clearly.