ericauchard1– Eric Auchard is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

Stock research analysts get no respect these days. An academic study has concluded that share recommendations have little impact.

A 51-page study entitled “On the information role of stock recommendations,” finds that buy and sell ratings are uninformative and often try to “piggyback” on actual news for their influence. This begs the dismal question: if professional analysts can’t get it right, what hope for the ordinary investor? Click here for PDF.

Sell-side research — driven by the need of the analyst’s employer to trade stocks — dominates daily market conversations. Recommendations are the signposts of these debates, without which many investors would be lost.

Analysts are not alone in selling their independence to the highest bidder, and their reputation has suffered after so many were exposed as marketers for investment bankers, favoured clients or company managements. But independence is not the same as efficacy of stock recommendations.