Securities Sleuth Examines Merrill's Analyst Bias Problem

Washington, District of Columbia, UNITED STATES

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Securities Sleuth,, has just completed a series of articles covering the ongoing and expanding investigation of Merrill Lynch (NYSE:MER) analyst conflicts by the New York State Attorney General.

In "Recommendations versus Reality" the Sleuth examines four stocks strongly recommended by Merrill Lynch even while their market prices were collapsing: Aether System (Nasdaq:AETH); Excite@home (Nasdaq:ATHM); 24/7Media (Nasdaq:TFSM); and Lifeminders (Nasdaq:LFMN). In each of these instances Merrill Lynch analysts were pushing the stock, publicly aggressively, while at the same time in e-mail messages among themselves they were describing the stock in unflattering terms.

The Sleuth also reviews the state of the investigation and raises concerns as to whether it can remain effective as it gains additional participants. Other articles in the series examine the reactions of investors and corporate executives to these revelations, and also review potential ways to reduce analyst conflicts of interest.

As new financial irregularities and securities frauds emerge, the Securities Sleuth keeps its readers up to date by looking behind-the-scenes to examine how they took place, and to gauge their long-term impact on investors. More about these stories can be found on the Sleuth's Web site at