A few months ago I wrote a post critical of the hardline that the SEC took against Jonathan Lebed for so-called “pump & dump”. Lebed was a 15 years old at the time, and he was promoting penny stocks that he liked using bulletin boards and the like. It turned into a pretty lucrative trade for him, but the SEC made him pay a huge fine. I said that it was not right for them to go after some kid, when the people on Wall Street do this sort of thing all the time. Today, I think I found an example with one of the securities that I trade, Petrobakken.
In a report from NASDAQ.com this morning soon after the market, RTTNews reports moves on Bay Street:
Bay Street stocks moved down at open Wednesday amid selling in energy and base-metals stocks, with the S&P/TSX Composite Index shedding 78.41 points or 0.65 percent to 12,002.84. In the oil patch, Petrobakken Energy (PBN.TO) was down close to 6 percent and Niko Resources (NKO.TO) eased nearly 1 percent.
Then later in the morning, the same folks reported the following:
In the oil patch, Petrobakken Energy (PBN.TO) continued to reel under selling pressure, shedding 7 percent. Yesterday, the company provided operational updates of its Llanos Basin region.
Today’s price range for PBN is $10.13-10.51. Why would they make this mistake? Perhaps, they mean to report that PMG Petrominerales, formally associated with Petrobakken through their mother company Petrobank, who range is $15.76-16.70, which is down as much as 7%.
But why make such a mistake? Is it not plausible deniability? “Oh sorry, we meant Petrominerales, not Petrobakken.” That way they can try to manipulate the price of Petrobakken down to help out short sellers. Why do little guys like Jonathan Lebed get in trouble, while the big firms can pump and dumb and not worry?