The pros have it

For the last four years, Fortune has been running a fun game.  Who’s best at predicting Apple’s results?

What made the exercise particularly interesting — at least in the early years — was that the more bullish amateurs tended to beat the conservative pros, often by a embarrassingly wide margin.

That’s changed in the past year or so. Although Apple has yet to miss its own guidance, it has on more than a few occasions come in short of the amateurs’ over-heated estimates. It has even missed a couple of the Street’s consensus numbers — misses that have cost its share price dearly.

One might argue that those professionals are incentivised to push the share price in the direction they are predicting.  Note that massive sell offs of APPL from major hedge funds appear to be the driving force behind the stock’s recent poor performance.

Of course, Fortune’s game is comparing Apple’s financial performance against predictions from professional and non-professional “analysts” and it’s undeniable the pros have it.