How many analysts following a company?
It sounds like a simple question but there are some complications (see below). However, we can relatively easily find:
Number of analysts providing EPS (Earnings per Share) estimates for the next financial year (FY1).
EPS is the most estimated financial variable and most analysts covering a company will estimate it for the next financial year.
This variable is part of the IBES summary data available through Thomson One Banker or Datastream:
ThomsonOneBanker – data item IBH.EPSNbrEstFY1
Datastream – datatype F1NE (or F1NET if available)
This data is available monthly (not all analysts covering a company will estimate every month so it can vary over the year).
Why knowing exactly how many analysts cover a company is hard.
First, there is no requirement for brokers and analysts to record what companies they are following. The ThomsonReuters IBES database, which is the most used analysts estimates database for research, is gathered by asking brokers/analysts to be involved and provide their estimates on a monthly basis.
Second, analysts coverage of a company can vary in detail. They provide estimates for a number of key financial variables but the choice of variables will vary between analysts.
Using the IBES detailed database, it would be possible to write a program to count the number of distinct analysts who provided an estimate for any financial variable for a company within a chosen time period. However, if within a broker one analyst estimates EPS, and another analyst estimates Sales, is that 2 analysts covering the company or just one?