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True Or False: Apple Loses $104B In Value

A glitch in trading data resulted in huge movements in some of the largest companies that trade on the Nasdaq including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the data showed up on several online trading platforms including Yahoo Finance, Google and Bloomberg Terminal on Monday (July 3) with the glitch showing a 14 percent decline in shares of Apple, a 87 percent drop in Amazon and a 79 percent increase for Microsoft. Nasdaq spokesman Joe Christinat told the paper that no real trades were affected by the glitch, given that normal trading and after hours trading were completed by the time the incorrect data started populating on the online platforms. Had it actually resulted in a change in the share prices of the companies, Apple’s market value would have declined by $104 billion while Amazon’s market capitalization would have declined $396 billion. Microsoft would have been the winner with its market cap increasing $415 billion, reported the Wall Street Journal.  

Nasdaq blamed the problem on test data that was disseminated incorrectly by vendors such as Bloomberg, but a person familiar with one of the vendors told the paper that Nasdaq changed the way it tests but didn’t alert anyone ahead of time. “This is a vendor issue, not a Nasdaq issue,” said Nasdaq’s Christinat in the report.  He pointed out that FactSet and Nasdaq.com showed correct pricing data at the same time the others were listing it incorrectly. Meanwhile, in an emailed statement to the Wall Street Journal, a Google representative said, “We can confirm that our third-party finance data partner was providing some inaccurate information, which they received from Nasdaq.”

While Nasdaq and the third party vendors fight over who is to blame, some investors were shrugging the incident off. “I’ve seen quite a few ‘fat-finger’ incidents when you get a funny price briefly,” said Eric Moffett, a portfolio manager for the T. Rowe Price Asia Opportunities Equity Fund in Hong Kong, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “When I saw the series of alerts, I figured something was up.” He did note that when he saw the pricing he immediately thought it may be some sort of cyberattack.

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