Late yesterday, around 1:30 p.m. ET, shares of Apple AAPL -0.39%suddenly went into a dive and were down over $2.50 per share in minutes after spending most of day flitting between slightly positive or slightly negative, but mostly hugging the flat-line.
About 20 minutes later, headlines started to hit the wires that some outfit named GfK had issued negative comments on Apple. Two or three minutes after that headline hit, the wires said that the GfK data was regarding iPhone units and a few minutes after that the wire services said that GfK is a point of sales tracking market research company out of Germany and had a report out saying that their data showed that on the launch weekend for iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 plus unit sales in 12 European countries plus Japan, China, Taiwan and Australia (but not including U.S) were down 25% YoY.
Of course, the report conveniently did not include U.S. sales because it would have been laughed at given what the Big Four U.S. carriers (AT&T T +0.41%, Verizon, T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint) have already said about bust-out sales for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.
So, at around 8.30 pm German time on a Friday night, someone (client of GfK based on their email to Bloomberg ) chose to reveal GfK findings regarding Apple sales?
Of course, it does not take a genius to assume that there was a lot of money made by the mysterious client or by other entities that might have been involved with the client (client was short Apple, the markets or the Apple supply chain or pretty much every stock out there) by releasing the research undertaken by GfK.
Did any of you ever hear of GfK prior to yesterday?
Why would a client company of GfK chose to release an important report regarding the worlds most valuable company on a Friday night (Europe time)? If GfK research was meant to be proprietary (see below) were there no confidentiality agreements? Did the clienthave a vested interest in seeing Apple and the rest of the market drop?
Bloomberg had the following in a report, Numbers on sales or market shares are confidentially provided to our clients and shall not be quoted or released to the public, GfK said in an e-mailed statement. We did not publish these figures for external release.
Most importantly, where is that report? The most important finding that GfK research data uncovered and it is not even up on their website this morning?
The cat is already out of the bag. The research GfK did is already out. So, why not put it up on their own websites and gain even more of a name for themselves?
I understand proprietary research given the fact that I use a prop model for investments in options and stocks, long and short. However, in this case there is nothing proprietary left in GfKs report on Apple when a client of theirs chose to release the contents to the rest of the world on a sleepy and dull late Friday afternoon.
Here is a link to the GfK US-dedicated website. (time I last checked was 8:50 a.m. ET). There was no article on Apple sales or anything regarding Apple on their US dedicated website.
Here is another link to the GfK global website. (time I last checked was 8:55 a.m. ET). Again, no article on Apple unit sales or anything Apple related on the companys global website.
So, the firms research is leaked late on a Friday night (Europe time)and they dont even issue a press release but just emailed out a one sentence statement to Bloomberg?
If the research is accurate, it could be considered one of the most crucial market research reports the firm has ever put out and nothing on their websites?
If true, it tanked the U.S. markets big time and led to billions of dollars of losses and not a peep on their websites?
I have sent a couple of emails out via their US-centric site and via their global site but as of this writing have not yet heard back from the company.
GfK has every other report on their website, so why not the most important research thus far in their existence. The press release that got everyone talking about the firm the world over.
Something just does not smell right with this entire episode.
Very much like the 3 am (Japan time) press releases we have seen in the past from Nikkei News regarding Apple related channel checks, no?
(Long aapl, long aapl options)