A Fortune investigation examines how analysts on Wall Street have become "stock boosters, often serving as liaisons between the companies they cover and the investing public." The report profiles Mike Mayo, a star analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, who "thought he could change the ratings game on Wall Street ... and tell people to sell stocks that were headed for a meltdown." The story details how in the spring of 1999 Mayo put a sell on bank stocks, stirring the ire of portfolio managers and bank executives, and got fired in the fall of 2000, shortly after his company announced plans to acquire another brokerage house. The author draws the conclusion that "if a top-rated, thoroughly respected analyst earning a seven-figure salary with a name brand firm can take this kind of career hit, Wall Street's legions of lower-profile analysts have little hope of summoning the courage to shout "Sell!" on a given stock or sector."
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