I'm starting to wonder how many people are taking advantage of the Internet age, and the volatility around anything to do with Apple, to make some money.
Apple's stock fell $9.71, or 6.87 percent, to $131.72 during today's trading on the Nasdaq. The stock was up early in the morning, but started to fall around mid-morning Eastern time, apparently after rumors started flying that Apple was cutting its iPhone production goals in half.
At around 12:30 pm in New York, TheStreet.com came out with a report saying that financial analyst firm Miller Tabak had issued a note from its stock-trading desk about the rumored production cut, which would have involved Apple slicing iPhone production from 9 million units to 4.5 million units.
Put aside for the moment the notion that Apple would have once planned to make 9 million iPhones this year, when the company has said it doesn't expect sell 10 million a year until 2008. AppleInsider reported that Miller Tabak's Peter Boockvar denied his firm issued a note on Tuesday. I contacted Boockvar myself to confirm, and he said that not only did the firm not issue any kind of note about Apple, it doesn't even track the technology sector.
CNBC reported that Boockvar told TheStreet.com's Scott Moritz that he had merely heard the same rumors about iPhone production cuts that Moritz had. But Moritz attributed the rumors to a note supposedly issued by Miller Tabak citing talk at Goldman Sachs, although he later scrubbed references to Goldman Sachs from his online report without noting their removal.
Boockvar said he planned to ask TheStreet.com for a retraction, although the story was still up as of this writing. The episode is eerily reminiscent of Engadget's blunder earlier this year, when it was duped by a fake internal e-mail into thinking that Apple had postponed the launch of the iPhone until October. At least in that case, however, Engadget quickly updated its post while the market was still in session, and the stock regained most its value quickly.
And to be clear, Apple's stock price also benefits from rumors, such as the ones that next Tuesday's Mac event will see the introduction of new iMacs. But still, you have to wonder where these rumors start. I bet TheStreet.com's Jim Cramer has some theories.