United Airlines' stock fell more than 75 percent Monday morning after a nearly 6-year-old Chicago Tribune news report was distributed via a market-information site operated by Bloomberg.
CHICAGO — United Airlines’ stock fell more than 75 percent Monday morning after a nearly 6-year-old Chicago Tribune news report was distributed via a market-information site operated by Bloomberg.
The stock, which had closed Friday at $12.30 a share, hit a low of $3 a share before the confusion was cleared up. The stock closed at $10.92, down $1.38.
After being alerted to the issue Monday morning, the Chicago Tribune removed the story from its online archives, which are also accessed by other Tribune newspapers. The South Florida Sun Sentinel’s version of the story was the one cited by Bloomberg.
The original story, published Dec. 10, 2002, appeared the day after United Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and discussed the company’s strategy for emerging from bankruptcy. However, the text of the story showed up in searches of the Sun Sentinel Web site Monday.
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United said it has demanded a retraction from the Sun Sentinel and is launching an investigation. United exited bankruptcy in February 2006.
Joseph Schwerdt, deputy managing editor-interactive for the Sun Sentinel, said internal tracking records show that no one had opened the original story file since 2003. The story would have been available via a search on the site, but no one outside the paper should have had access to the story file, Schwerdt said.
The Sun Sentinel story did not have any discernible impact on United shares until after 10:53 a.m., when it was posted to the Bloomberg site. The story was posted to Bloomberg by a Miami investment-advisory firm, Income Securities Advisor.