This is the Number of Hold Recommendations. A "Hold" is an analyst's opinion that can be interpreted as meaning that a stock should be kept by individuals who already own it, but should not be purchased by those who don't already. A hold recommendation is generally better than a Sell Recommendation but worse than a Buy Recommendation. It usually means that the analyst believes the stock will remain fairly stable and neither outperform or underperform the Market. Holds are also referred to as "Neutral" or "Market Perform" recommendations.
These recommendations should be taken with a pinch of salt. Due to the fact that many broking firms also provide corporate finance services to their clients, it has been shown that brokers are reluctant to put out 'sell' recommendations.
The majority of stocks analysed in the city are 'buys' or 'outperforms', and much research has indicated that stocks with a 'sell' rating actually outperform stocks with a 'buy' rating. This indicator is provided for reference only, but can sometimes be used as a useful contrarian signal.