Here’s what really happened with United Airlines’ stock losing 99% of its value on that bankruptcy story from 2002 that people though was new. This is what happens when you let the robots do your thinking for you…
A worker at a Miami investment advisory firm called Income Securities Advisors, which publishes news alerts that get distributed through the Bloomberg News Service, did a Google search on bankruptcies this morning and got back search results that included a six-year-old story published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel about the 2002 bankruptcy filing by United Airlines.
The employee mistook the news for a current story — despite the date clearly marked on it…and other information in the article “that would clearly lead a reader to the conclusion that it was related to events in 2002” — and included it in a subscription newsletter that was distributed through Bloomberg.
…the article in the Sun Sentinel’s archive had no date on it. But when Google’s spider grabbed it, it assigned a current date to the piece, which then resulted in the article being placed in the top results of Google News. When the employee from Income Securities Advisors ran a Google search on “2008 bankruptcies,” the old United Airlines story appeared as the top link in the results, with a September 6, 2008 date on it.
As Joel Johnson intimates in his Twitter post, it seems more like a movie plot point than reality. It just speaks to how much the market has gotten into a mindset where it thinks “he who panics first, wins.” Stick with your long-term investment goals and let them lose their nails.
(Photo: Deseronto Archives)