updated 09:50 am EDT, Mon August 31, 2009
SEC probes Apple trades
The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into suspicious trading of Apple stock, internal documents are said to show. The government body is at present thought to be polling brokerage firms, asking for the names of clients who bought and sold Apple shares during four distinct time periods. It is rare for the SEC to deal with cases involving more than one period of trading, a report says.
Although both Apple and the SEC have refused to comment, some Wall Street sources speculate that the concern involves insider knowledge of two major matters: iPod sales, and the health of CEO Steve Jobs. One or more people may have been given illegal insight how iPod sales were doing, and/or Jobs' true condition. The executive initially described some 2008 medical troubles as being related to a "hormonal imbalance," but then declared a six-month leave of absence, during which he received a liver transplant for reasons still undisclosed.
If illegal trading did occur, some investors may have had knowledge of when certain Apple announcements would be made, as well as their contents. The records for some past transactions are highly questionable, says one hedge fund trader. "It almost looked at times like the buyers and sellers were working at the company," the trader comments.