The Huffington reports that the SEC is investigating what may be turn out to be insider trading of Apple stock.
I have obtained copies of those internal SEC documents from a regulatory contact. Interestingly, the nature of its interest shows that the commission is not investigating, as is usually the case, the trading that occurred in a specific time period, but rather, in this instance, in four specific time periods. This suggests the SEC could be looking into more than one potential violation in the trading in Apple shares.
What the agency is seeking in its queries to the brokerage community are the names of its clients who specifically bought and sold Apple’s securities in those four time periods and whether anyone did so with a knowledge of non-public, inside information.
But what, or when, were those four time periods in question? Huff Po postulates:
–Whether anyone got an illegal lead on precisely how sales were faring on key items in Apple’s highly successful Ipod product line.
–Whether anyone was given a precise insight into the health of the company’s co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, a cancer survivor who took a six-month leave of absence last January and then received a liver transplant. Subsequent questions about the viability of his health then led to a great deal of volatility in Apple’s shares.
–Whether anyone had exact knowledge of when specific releases would be made by the company with regard to Jobs’ health or Ipod sales and pretty much of an awareness, as well, as to what those announcements would say.
Judging from “some uncanny trading” that he saw taking place in Apple, one hedge fund trader told me “it almost looked at times like the buyers and sellers were working at the company.”
Predition: This investigation goes nowhere.
Call me skeptical, but after reading about how the SEC tried to screw over Mark Cuban in the sole interest of publicity, not to mention its apparent willful ignorance of Bernie Madoff’s actions, and I have a hard time taking the SEC that seriously.