Nearly a month ago, at Apple’s unveiling of the new iPod lineup for this fall, Steve Jobs quoted Mark Twain’s “The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” (By the way, Snopes.com and Wikipedia both say that is even a misquote of Twain’s original comment: “The report of my death is an exaggeration.”)
Even though that remark was funny, and got a rousing round of applause, I do believe that Steve Jobs was serious: he is not as sick as all the pundits proclaim, nor is his health in any great danger. But yesterday, Apple’s stock price plummeted briefly due to reports from CNN’s iReport.com that Jobs had just had a massive heart attack and had been rushed to the hospital. Both claims turned out to be completely untrue. The really interesting part turned out to be how Apple’s shareholders reacted.
In addition to their being a temporary drop in Apple’s stock price there was also an overall drop as the stock closed for the weekend at 97.07…its lowest close in nearly 18 months. The SEC is investigating and ireport.com is cooperating fully by handing over any information they have gathered on Johntw, the poster who put up the “fradulent” story.
I don’t understand why the stock market is so volatile as to let the rumors posted on a site where the claim to fame is “Unfiltered. Unedited.” change how money is invested. Maybe iReport was going to add “Untrue. Unethical.” to the tagline, but they ran out of room, and had to settle on the first two. This could very easily be someone who thought they could make a quick buck by posting the story, buying some Apple stock, and then selling it when everyone found out it was fake. It will be interested to see what the SEC finds.
Here’s to hoping Steve Jobs stays healthy for a long time and that AAPL stock starts the trek back upward before the 21st when the 4th Quarter earnings call is scheduled.