Bogus news chops Apple

Shares hit 18-month low after false claim

NEW YORK -- Apple shares tumbled to a 18-month low Friday before recovering somewhat after a false citizen journalism report claimed that CEO Steve Jobs had been hospitalized with a heart attack.

CNN's user-generated content Web site carried the report early Friday for about three hours.

"The report is not true," an Apple spokesman said, and the posting was taken down.

Added a CNN spokeswoman: iReport "is an entirely user-generated site where the content is determined by the community. Content that does not comply with community guidelines will be removed. After the content in question was uploaded to, the community brought it to our attention. ... The fraudulent content was removed from the site, and the user's account was disabled."

She said the SEC is investigating the origin of the report, likely to determine whether the posting was intended to depress Apple's stock.

Apple shares fell more than 5.4% to set a new low of $94.65 in early trading before closing down 3% at $97.07.

Concern about Jobs' health has affected Apple shares. Jobs had surgery a few years ago to treat pancreatic cancer. After an appearance where he seemed visibly thinner, the company cited a common bug, and Jobs told the Apple board in July that he was cancer-free, according to the New York Times.
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