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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Second Twitter hoax in two days smacks another stock - The West Australian

Sarepta Therapeutics Inc became the second company in as many days to see its shares plunge as a result of a Twitter hoax on Wednesday after a user posed as an influential short-seller and alleged improprieties at the biopharmaceutical company.  The drop mirrored a similar incident on Tuesday, when Audience Inc fell more than 25 percent following tweets that at a glance looked to be from Muddy Waters, another short-selling firm.

Just as Muddy Waters confirmed it did not send such a tweet about Audience, so too did Andrew Left, the California-based investor who runs Citron, said his company did not send a message about Sarepta.

The twin incidents targeted a pair of Nasdaq stocks that are not among the most actively traded on a daily basis, showing how certain company shares are vulnerable to information posted on social media networks, even if the information is misleading.

“You need a more volatile stock for this kind of manipulation - obviously if you were to try it on IBM it wouldn’t work,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

The tweet, with the user name “@citreonresearc,” alleged that drug trial results from the biopharmaceutical company had been tainted and doctored, according to screen shots of the posting captured by Twitter users.

Matt, a trader in San Diego who did not want to give his last name, but who goes by the handle @given2tweet on Twitter, said, “There’s a real severity to that tweet.

The company, which has a market cap of about $692 million, is volatile, moving more than 1 percent in six of the past seven sessions.

Audience went public in May 2012 and has a market cap of $254 million as of Tuesday’s closing price, rising about 15 percent so far this year.


Posted on 01/31