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Netizens Move to Cut Stock Prices of Corporations

Posted June. 20, 2008 03:03,   


The nation’s financial regulatory body launched an investigation on some netizens who attempted to threaten corporations that run advertisements in major newspapers. After their attempt failed, they even tried to cut stock prices of the corporations.

Recently, some messages saying that stock prices of some corporations would be “halved” have been uploaded on the nation’s major portal sites and securities Web sites. The postings said stock prices of a pharmaceutical firm, a food company and a smaller IT firm, which have not yielded to the threat to stop running ads in major newspapers, will be halved due to consumers’ boycott.

A netizen even instigated other Internet users to participate in the boycott and stock selling, saying, “For those who are holding stocks of the relevant firms, let’s sell all of them. Instead of just boycotting their products, it would be better to sell the stocks. It will be a big threat to the companies.”

Another messages said, “The stock price of Daum Communications has increased since it has been favorable to public sentiment. I think the stock price of the pharmaceutical firm will be halved soon.” “Boycott has spread. Stock prices are expected to tumble. I hope shareholders will sell the stocks as soon as possible.”

The instigators seem to intend to encourage shareholders to sell their stocks and deal a serious blow to some specified firms by spreading the rumor that the firms’ stock prices would fall due to the boycott.

Such instigation to halve stock prices of some firms can be taken advantage of illegal organizations, which pretend to be innocent netizens so as to manipulate stock prices. In that case, innocent corporations and shareholders can suffer financial damage.

According to the Securities and Exchange Act, an activity to spread false rumor and comes up with deceptive plans in order to gain improper profit is deemed an unfair stock manipulation activity.

Netizens waged such a movement since a message was posted on Daum’s Agora, a bulletin board for free discussion, in mid May. The message read, “What corporations fear the most is falling stock prices. If we fuel the movement, online communities dealing with stocks will run amok.”

In the meanwhile, shareholders of the firms in question said, “Such an activity is an illegal activity, which can be effectively considered as stock price manipulation. The government should track down and punish these people.”

nex@donga.com bookum90@donga.com