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SEC investigating false report on Steve Jobs heart attack

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
The Securities and Exchange Commission said Friday it's investigating whether a false report that Apple chief executive Steve Jobs suffered a heart attack was published in a effort to manipulate the company's stock price.

The report, which appeared briefly on CNN's citizen journalist website early Friday morning, claimed that Apple co-founder had been rushed to a local emergency room following the "major heart attack."

Apple representative Steve Dowling flatly denied the report, saying it was simply "not true." The incident follows a regular series of rumors and speculation prying into Jobs' health ever since he underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2004, and his more recent struggle with related nutrition issues that have since contributed to visible weight loss.

CNN spokeswoman Jennifer Martin told Bloomberg the content published by her company is "entirely user-generated," and that once "the community brought it to our attention, the fraudulent content was removed from the site and the user's account was disabled."

CNN's iReport.com, which served as the outlet for the false report, describes itself as a source of "Unedited. Unfiltered. News." The site "makes no guarantee about the content or coverage'' of the headlines it publishes, which are mingled together with stores that have been picked up to appear on CNN.

A month ago, Jobs made an off-hand comment to CNBC's Jim Goldman, in which he appear to blame the incessant reports focusing on his health on hedge funds who are seeking to profit in the short term on market panic created by false reports and unsubstantiated, speculative reporting.

Apple investors have expressed frustration that the company has not been more forthcoming about Jobs' health. Ryan Jacob of the Jacob Internet Fund, an Apple shareholder since 2003, told Bloomberg, "It's a tough position to be in. They [Apple] don't continually want to field questions and make news when there is no news. We as investors have to hope that if there is something material to say, they will comment quickly."

"Leaving it to rumor and speculation is reckless,'' said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, another investor who has owned Apple shares since Jobs returned to the company in 1997. "If he is healthy, they should say so. If he's not, we should know that too.''

Despite poor economic conditions, Apple's products are still setting records. Bloomberg cited analysts noting that Apple could reach a record $30 billion in sales this year. With no end in sight to Apple's growth, the most effective way to knock the company's stock price down is through fear and false reports.

Apple has been in a steep slide ever since the middle of August, despite the company's continued performance, due to a series of general concerns about the economy voiced by analysts. Just over a week ago, Katie Huberty of Morgan Stanley lowered her Apple price target from $192 to $179 citing unspecified general weakness in the "global macro-economic environment."

Over the last year, Apple's stock price has wildly fluctuated between a high of $202 and today's low of $94, shedding over $86 billion of its market capitalization over a roller coaster ride largely unrelated to the company's fundamentals and actual performance.

Word of the SEC's investigation into Friday's false iReport was first reported by the Bloomberg news service.
post #2 of 45
Not a surprise coming from the drones following the Clinton News Network.
post #3 of 45
"Citizen Journalism" will not have failed if the perpetrator is utterly and publicly skewered.
post #4 of 45
Instead, they should look to Fox's unbiased, quality reporting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

Not a surprise coming from the drones following the Clinton News Network.
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post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

CNN's iReport.com, which served as the outlet for the false report, describes itself as a source of "Unedited. Unfiltered. News." The site "makes no guarantee about the content or coverage'' of the headlines it publishes, which are mingled together with stores that have been picked up to appear on CNN.



Sound fimiliar?! "Totally open apps marketplace"

Anything without some type of control is a disaster waiting to happen.
post #6 of 45
Great. I realize that there's an election about a month from now, but does every thread really need to have a political reference?
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Great. I realize that there's an election about a month from now, but does every thread really need to have a political reference?

I don't McCain think it's Obama really happening as often Palin as you think. It's easy Biden to be swing state a bit oversensitive at bailout this time of the year.

Oh, and the person you're voting for hates ice cream.

GTSC
post #8 of 45
This is ridiculous.

I'm an AAPL shareholder, but come on. Maybe the SEC has something more important to be doing this week?
post #9 of 45
http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/03/tech...pple/index.htm

CNN has apologized and announced that they will be helping the SEC in giving them info on the fraudulent iReporter.
post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by godrifle View Post

Instead, they should look to Fox's unbiased, quality reporting.

Fox don't report news! They just make it up
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Long on AAPL so biased
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Newborn View Post

This is ridiculous.

I'm an AAPL shareholder, but come on. Maybe the SEC has something more important to be doing this week?

No it's not. As we have seen, our problem in the US has not been lack of laissez-faire.
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHeneen View Post

http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/03/tech...pple/index.htm

CNN has apologized and announced that they will be helping the SEC in giving them info on the fraudulent iReporter.

Heh heh. I'll bet Anderson Cooper's portfolio took a major dive and hence their concern......
post #13 of 45
The SEC should prosecute REGARDLESS.

Yelling fire in a crowded theater is illegal.

This is negligent behavior. The SEC should prosecute.
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by McHuman View Post

The SEC should prosecute REGARDLESS.

Yelling fire in a crowded theater is illegal.

This is negligent behavior. The SEC should prosecute.

Negligent on the part of CNN? Unless you have some sort of proof that CNN knew about it and didn't act to erase it in due time, negligence is a silly, ignorant charge. It's a different site designed specifically for user generated content. I don't see anything that says it was on CNN.com, nor was it presented as a CNN story.
post #15 of 45
Wow, there used to be a lot of "Apple is teh D00med!" claims back in the day... Now it's all "Steve Jobs is teh D00med!". Poor Steve.
post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Negligent on the part of CNN? Unless you have some sort of proof that CNN knew about it and didn't act to erase it in due time, negligence is a silly, ignorant charge. It's a different site designed specifically for user generated content. I don't see anything that says it was on CNN.com, nor was it presented as a CNN story.

I'm sure he meant the poster should be prosecuted, not CNN. I concur; stock manipulation of this sort (if that what it proves to be) is a criminal offense.
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post

I'm sure he meant the poster should be prosecuted, not CNN. I concur; stock manipulation of this sort (if that what it proves to be) is a criminal offense.

I thought so at first too, but negligence doesn't fit the iReport poster's deed. Maybe it was just a poorly chosen word. I can't think of the perfect word, but malice is a lot closer, if there was intent.
post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by McHuman View Post

The SEC should prosecute REGARDLESS.

Yelling fire in a crowded theater is illegal.

This is negligent behavior. The SEC should prosecute.

Who does it hurt? Day traders? Too bad. Where do we draw the line on stuff like this? If I say it as a joke in a bar on Wall Street can I be prosecuted? If it were April 1 would you want the SEC to go after this guy? Should whoever made the mistake at Bloomberg last month be jailed?

Anyone who sold without a better source than this isn't really cut out for investing in a high profile company like aapl.
post #19 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Who does it hurt? Day traders? Too bad. Where do we draw the line on stuff like this? If I say it as a joke in a bar on Wall Street can I be prosecuted? If it were April 1 would you want the SEC to go after this guy? Should whoever made the mistake at Bloomberg last month be jailed?

Anyone who sold without a better source than this isn't really cut out for investing in a high profile company like aapl.

Who it hurts is the person(s) who are planning to pull money out that day for family vacation, medical bills, new car etc.. It also hurts, if the stock was used for collateral for a loan, a.k.a. margin, when the stock drops substantially then a margin call may/is generated causing the stock owner grief.

What it hurts is the trust that common people who rely on the stock market to generate a return on their savings greater than the rate of inflation. If nobody can trust the market to be fair, then they would be better off going to Las Vegas.

SEC should investigate and make the call if it was to manipulate or a joke and take appropriate action.

I agree entirely with your last statement, and I concur there should be no sympathy for the day trader.
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Who does it hurt?

It hurts every single holder of AAPL. There is no proof that the dip in the stock will ever be fully recovered--any future increases will be based on the price it fell to after this hoax, not the price it would have been.

And if the people who released this hoax did in fact short AAPL or buy it at the resulting dip price, then they are wholly guilty of fraud. Their profit did not come out of thin air, it came out of someone else's pocket under false pretenses.

Stop trying to defend the guilty and blame the victims. It never ceases to amaze me how many Americans insist on doing that.
post #21 of 45
I think Apple should play them at their own game. Just leak out some false stories themselves and watch the stock jump around like mad. Eventually, the idiots who buy and sell based on the health of the CEO will just give up and realise that it's not really relevant.

"breaking news from Apple headquarters: Steve slipped on some soap in the shower, it's touch and go"
stock go down
two days laters - "turns out it was fake Steve Jobs who slipped on the soap"
stock go up
but wait, "breaking news: Steve choked on a pretzel"
stock go down
two days later "yeah, he just coughed it back up a couple of days ago, no harm done"
stock go up

It really just shows how low people in marketing and the stock exchange really are when they try and put a monetary value on people's lives.

Although Jobs has clearly played a significant role in Apple's success, they need to emphasize that Apple could go on without him. He's always the front man for presentations and marketing the likes of the iphone and it kind of gives people the impression that he soldered and built the thing in his garage.

WWDC 09, let Forstall take the whole stage about Snow Leopard since it's not really a consumer release and have Steve come in for the 'and more thing'. I don't think they should remove Steve from what he loves to do but just make it clear there's more to Apple.
post #22 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Who does it hurt? Day traders? Too bad.

Who does yelling fire in a theater hurt? Moviegoers?

Besides materially affecting the thousands of investors in AAPL and in the indicies which AAPL is a part of, this affects the very trust of the market, which in turn hurts you.

Quote:
Anyone who sold without a better source than this isn't really cut out for investing in a high profile company like aapl.

For those of you like walshbj who don't understand the market, the stock dropped from short sellers and derivative plays, not so much from people selling because they thought SJ had a heart attack.

The shorts make profit as the stock drops, triggering stops from traders, upsetting options volitility that can wipe out people, and also triggering margin calls that were not expected. I happen to know a couple people who got very effected by this...to the point where they lost their capital (not some dollars of shares, but all of their money to trade with) and have to leave the market now, broke. Those who triggered the rumor, if properly positioned in derivatives, may have literally made +100% or more profit in just a few minutes time..where as selling the stock short may have only made you the 7% it dropped. For comparison, AAPL common stock took two years to increase 100%. These crooks may have achieved that in minutes on a false rumor.

It also was set up to push the stock below the critical $100 support level, which in turn affects the technical charts (which millions of traders follow) and have opened the door for continued drop (ie profit) in the stock for short sellers.

Sadly, walshbj doesn't know the first thing about how the market works, and as he said, isn't really cut out for investing...or even commenting on this board.
post #23 of 45
I am still a finance n00b (shouldn't have wasted all that education on darn Biology)... But I think your $100 support level is very interesting. AAPL is a good deal now for those that haven't bought into it yet, though in the short term, it could go lower...?
post #24 of 45
You can all cry all you want, and hope the SEC finds the guy, but it doesn't matter. ANYONE can do this over and over. And if they have a half a brain they can do it without any chance of ever getting caught. Are they breaking a law? Isn't there a saying about laws that can't be enforced? This can't be enforced, so good luck.

Didn't your mother ever tell you about life not being fair?

As for people who needed the money for vacation, etc. aapl isn't exactly the place to keep that money, so again, those people are on their own.

Quote:
Originally Posted by McHuman View Post

Sadly, walshbj doesn't know the first thing about how the market works, and as he said, isn't really cut out for investing...or even commenting on this board.

Don't be too sad for me. I don't claim to be a stock market genius. But I started accumulating aapl at $15 and got the bulk of it at 60. So I'm doing ok.

First rule of investing - don't put money in that you might need in the short term.
post #25 of 45
Yes they are breaking the law and it can be enforced, don't ever become a lawyer walshbj.

Thank goodness someone is at least looking into these criminals, cos they fookers think they are untouchable. AAPL has been the source of some increasingly blatant manipulation, I wonder how many stop losses were triggered by this latest stunt.

These people belong in jail, plain and simple.
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

Who does it hurt? Day traders? Too bad. Where do we draw the line on stuff like this? If I say it as a joke in a bar on Wall Street can I be prosecuted? If it were April 1 would you want the SEC to go after this guy? Should whoever made the mistake at Bloomberg last month be jailed?

Ask your question to the stock holders of United Airlines. A few weeks ago somebody posted a news article from Google saying United was going bankrupt. The article was from 2002. The stock went from $9 to .30.
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Jack View Post

Yes they are breaking the law and it can be enforced, don't ever become a lawyer walshbj.

I'm under attack.

You can't enforce it if you can't find the person. You can investigate people who profited and MAYBE find a link back to the person behind the hoax. But not if they're smart. That's my point: The anonymity of the Internet makes it possible - in fact easy - to commit this "crime" without getting caught.

You can't find the perpetrator, you can't enforce the "law". The law is useless.

Back to you McHuman: Does the fact that you have friends who lost everything on this rumor make YOU the market expert? I assume you have other credentials.
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

You can't enforce it if you can't find the person.

What makes you think they can't find the person?

I predict that, by next week this time, we'll know.
post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

What makes you think they can't find the person?

I predict that, by next week this time, we'll know.

I don't mean they can't find them. But do you have to think really hard to come up with a way to post anonymously on CNN? It's not that hard.

If the person was sloppy he'll be found. If he was the least bit crafty and careful he won't be caught.
post #30 of 45
Who says it is difficult to find this person? FBI can find them pretty quickly especially if CNN helps. IP address, it is not difficult to bounce right back to the originator. Public machine? No problem. Behind multiple firewalls? No problem. Internet service providers all have records of every IP address you have accessed for the last 5 years and are compelled to keep them by law. It will take a little time, but it ain't that difficult. The process can still be completed even if the person is located overseas, in a land unfriendly to US laws. Nowhere to hide. Notice the child porn rings that get busted, and in those rings the service providers and the participants are doing everything they can to conceal their real identity.

My guess is that SJ himself called this one in, in typical pissed off fashion, yelling that he is fine and wants to know why someone would make this up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

You can't enforce it if you can't find the person. You can investigate people who profited and MAYBE find a link back to the person behind the hoax. But not if they're smart. That's my point: The anonymity of the Internet makes it possible - in fact easy - to commit this "crime" without getting caught.

You can't find the perpetrator, you can't enforce the "law". The law is useless.
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post #31 of 45
Quote:
Apple representative Steve Dowling flatly denied the report, saying it was simply "not true." The incident follows a regular series of rumors and speculation prying into Jobs' health ever since he underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2004, and his more recent struggle with related nutrition issues that have since contributed to visible weight loss. [...]

A month ago, Jobs made an off-hand comment to CNBC's Jim Goldman, in which he appear to blame the incessant reports focusing on his health on hedge funds who are seeking to profit in the short term on market panic created by false reports and unsubstantiated, speculative reporting.

Apple investors have expressed frustration that the company has not been more forthcoming about Jobs' health. Ryan Jacob of the Jacob Internet Fund, an Apple shareholder since 2003, told Bloomberg, "It's a tough position to be in. They [Apple] don't continually want to field questions and make news when there is no news. We as investors have to hope that if there is something material to say, they will comment quickly."

"Leaving it to rumor and speculation is reckless,'' said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, another investor who has owned Apple shares since Jobs returned to the company in 1997. "If he is healthy, they should say so. If he's not, we should know that too.''


I welcome the S.E.C. investigation because an unknown Apple representative cannot legally bind Apple and the Apple Board of directors if it turns out that his OPINION on Steve Jobs' health is less than genuine, less than the full truth.

And I second Jeffrey Sonnenfeld's comment that it is irresponsible of Apple to leave everything to rumors, speculation and "off the record" comments. Either there is no reason to be concerned about Steve Jobs' health - AND - Apple should say so clearly through an official (actionable) statement issued by the Apple Board of directors, - OR - there is clearly reason to be concerned as evidenced by Steve Jobs' physical look in every one of his public appearance.

post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendon View Post

Who says it is difficult to find this person? FBI can find them pretty quickly especially if CNN helps. IP address, it is not difficult to bounce right back to the originator. Public machine? No problem. Behind multiple firewalls? No problem.

If it was done from a public machine, then they need some sort of record of who was at that machine. Heck, someone can go to some open AP in any subdivision and send something from there and that's a pretty dry trail unless there's a surveillance video that catches a license plate at the time of access.

Quote:
Internet service providers all have records of every IP address you have accessed for the last 5 years and are compelled to keep them by law..

Got a source for that?
post #33 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Heck, someone can go to some open AP in any subdivision and send something from there and that's a pretty dry trail unless there's a surveillance video that catches a license plate at the time of access.

Exactly. Open wifi changes everything about the ease of Internet anonymity. Yes, you can catch the lazy ones. But with minimal effort you can be anonymous.
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendon View Post

Internet service providers all have records of every IP address you have accessed for the last 5 years and are compelled to keep them by law.

No they don't. Businesses are required to record customer financial transactions for a certain length of time. Storing ISP logs is not required. A recent law was raised in the UK that would force them to log data for 12 months:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/05...ion_directive/

Don't know if it went through though. In some countries, you can simply ask for deletion so they comply with privacy laws:

http://www.out-law.com/page-7455

Concerning the actual poster of the heart attack news, what exactly will they be charged with? Lying on the internet? How is that a criminal act? If the president can get away with it then surely some no-name journalist can too - it's only fair really.

The real problem lay with people reacting to anonymous articles. Did the stock market react when it came to light that Bill Gates runs like a girl?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sckba-EX5MM

Surely that would have sent the cool factor plummeting. Investors need to focus a company's success on the actual products. Apple's products haven't changed so the stock should by all rights drop like a stone until they move their ass but absolutely nothing should happen concerning news about Steve.

I bet if Phil Schiller had a heart attack, nobody would bat an eyelid. Poor fat bastard, nobody cares about him.
post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by crees! View Post

Not a surprise coming from the drones following the Clinton News Network.

You're going to have to come up with something different. This is the 21st century and last time I checked the staff of CNN was engorged on the Chicago Network News Syndicate.
post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I bet if Phil Schiller had a heart attack, nobody would bat an eyelid. Poor fat bastard, nobody cares about him.

Yeah, he's actually at high risk of some serious health problems... Heart attacks, diabetes, etc. He's really quite overweight. If I was a shareholder or stakeholder somehow, I'd be concerned for Phil's health. As much if not more so than Steve's issues.
post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Got a source for that?

OK I thought this had passed, but it is coming...

H.R.837
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post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendon View Post

OK I thought this had passed, but it is coming...

H.R.837

Right, it's coming, but it can't be used for 'anything', it will only be used in child abuse cases.
post #39 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by steviet02 View Post

Right, it's coming, but it can't be used for 'anything', it will only be used in child abuse cases.

Who says that? If it is there it can be used. Where in the bill does it say that records will be only used in child abuse cases? Its like busting Capone for tax evasion or the umbrella of racketeering. Can you find in the bill where it says that the gathered information will only be used for child abuse cases. Frequently this is how riders make it into law, read that this is a good tool for homeland security, just in a bill that deals with child abuse. Notice that the subcommittee is Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. OK clearly this deals with child abuse but also note that terrorism and homeland security could be impacted, again nothing says that it can only be used for child abuse cases.
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post #40 of 45
This is serious sh*t, I am thrilled to read they are investigating. Manipulating this stuff is a huge deal. I hope someone gets screwed.
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