The thing is, the only people who trade on sell-side research recommendations are retail investors. By the time an investment idea is published in a report, the institutional money has typically already opened appropriate positions to benefit from it.
Conspiracists out there will go a step further and assert that such reports are at times issued to take advantage of retail investors (i.e., do as I say, not as I do, which is the exact opposite). In the current HRB case, Goldman issued a report a few days ago recommending the purchase of puts struck at $14, and the analyst wrapped the recommendation in seemingly credible rationale. Okay, GS was bearish, but then yesterday, the options market saw incredibly heavy bullish volume, not to mention the price runup in the stock itself. Now, in after-hours trading, the stock is up ~6% because of better-than-expected performance. Draw your own conclusions.
One other point to consider is that sell-side research is a cost center for banks. Well-managed companies usually spend money to make money, don't they? Food for thought.
Just speculators running price up. The truth will be apparent after the bell tomorrow when they report worse than what is already lowered earnings estimate of 0.00/sh versus 0.16/sh last year. Attracting potential customers with 1040EZ filers is one thing. Getting them to pay is another. Goldman Sachs is not stupid. When they say buy puts on HRB, there is a good probability they are correct in their rationale.
You picked the ask first of all, probably because you're trying to be stupid. Either way, the April 17 Calls are selling for .325, does that mean anything? Or do you just like to piecemail your research?