The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said that it will be investigating whether a false report that Apple’s CEO Steve Job had a heart attack was a deliberate attempt to push down the company’s stock price.
The story, which appeared on CNN’s iReport, a citizen journalist website, claimed that the Apple co-founder had been rushed to a local emergency room following the “major heart attack”; following a series of rumours of Steve Jobs’ health after he underwent treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2004, and a more recent struggle with nutrition, according to AppleInsider, that has contributed to his visible weight loss.
Apple representative Steve Dowling has denied the report, saying that it was “not true”. In addition, CNN spokeswoman Jennifer Martin told Bloomberg that the content published on iReport is “entirely user-generated,” and once the community alerted CNN, “the fraudulent content was removed from the site and the user’s account was disabled.”
The company’s stock price fell to $97.07, losing 3 percent, at closing time. It earlier fell to $94.65, after the news was reported. This is the first time since May 2007 that Apple has traded below $100.
The recent performance of its stock has been declining since the middle of August, even though the company is breaking records and its products, especially the iPhone and iPod product line, are proving more popular. The declining stock value is due to the financial crisis that is affecting all companies.
CNN is cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission with its investigation, handing over the details of the user who posted the story.