Investors tracking a flurry of late trading Wednesday think they smell a rat
One of the regulars at Investor Village’s AAPL Sanity board who calls himself (or herself) AnAAPLaDay was curious what triggered the furious trading in Apple (AAPL) shares that led to a five-point drop in the space of a minute at 4:49 p.m. Wednesday.
That’s two minutes before briefing.com ran this news alert:
That 26% was a typo. The correct figure was 36%. And as Kaufman Bros.’ Shaw Wu points out in a note to clients issued Thursday, there’s no difference between the gross margin estimate Apple issued in its quarterly earnings call on Oct. 18 and the SEC Form 10K issued Wednesday.
No change. No news.
But an alert on the business wires is all takes to give traders using computerized rapid trading techniques the edge they need to move the market one way or another, especially in thin after-hours trading.
In a post entitled “Anatomy of AAPL stock take down,” AnAAPLaDay describes what seems to have happened next.
AnAAPLaDay has provided a minute-by-minute record of after-hours trades between 4:43 and 4:49, should anybody at the SEC care to investigate.
UPDATE: CNBC didn’t help matters by flashing a Breaking News alert, as if the 36% gross margin was actually news. Below, a screengrab, courtesy of reader J. Hall, of the version that appeared on CNBC’s iPhone app:
NOTE: Earlier versions of this story attributed the post to the wrong writer at the wrong board. Apologies all around.
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]