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Icap mullered after research mix up

It’s logical that brokers such as Icap and Tullett Prebon should face being downgraded by the analysts who cover them. After all, they face many challenges. A degree of consolidation is taking place in their client base, let alone in some of the more lucrative markets they operate in. That said, I would still have thought that their diversification of offerings makes them better bets than certain regulated exchanges, which look to be veritable one-track ponies in comparison.

This morning, Morgan Stanley downgraded its ratings on Icap to underweight and slashed its price target to 245 pence from 710p; Tullett fared worse, being double downgraded to underweight from overweight and having its price target cut from 500p to 195p. It’s hardly the stuff to please either company’s management. But for Icap, things got worse when Reuters mixed up the price targets and reported that Icap’s was now 195p.

I understand that the news wire, which prides itself on the accuracy of its reporting, is not entirely at fault. But perhaps showing the power of the pen, Icap’s shares fell out of bed, dropping 25% at one stage as they moved rapidly towards the wrongly reported target.

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