I was a manager at a dot com, and I do own a few shares of tech stock, so when I read the phrase "straight-up stock hack" in relation to a technology property, I get a little antsy.
To be completely accurate, here is the full quote from Wired blogger Terrence Russell about the latest apparently inaccurate report about Apple and the subsequent 7 percent whack the stock took:
"I don't want to prematurely call this a straight-up stock hack, but something is definitely going on."
Russell is commenting on a report yesterday by TheStreet.com -- a broadly respected source -- that Apple planned to cut its iPhone production this year by about half, to 4.5 million units. Down went the stock, but as people began follow-up reporting, questions surfaced.
One analyst cited as a source by TheStreet.com told CNBC that he simply had confirmed that he, too, had heard rumors about an iPod production pullback -- not that his firm had actually issued a formal note on a potential market development to investors. Quote:
"We weren't issuing any kind of report ... We don't have an Apple analyst, we don't even have a tech analyst."
I'm less inclined than Wired's Russell to think that someone is feeding the press bad info in order to manipulate Apple stock. But big swings in stocks or silly rumors -- what about reported iPhone sales would indicate a production cut? -- do point to boom/bust mentality. It seems to me that investors believe they have found another pot of gold in Apple and are eager to snap it up -- or drop it like a hot potato on the faintest bit of news.
Perhaps it's a case of burnt fingers over the last tech crash. Or perhaps it can be attributed to immature investors' seemingly insatiable thirst for any minor news on the fashionable Apple brand, which drove the rush to publish at fault in the Engadget iPhone/Apple stock fracas. And even more inanely, the widespread regurgitation as fact of a gag post last week at BBspot (cleared up here at CrunchGear) about Apple charging $5 entrance fees to Apple stores.
At least stock prices didn't fall on that one.