SEC Investigating Insider Trading of Apple Stock

The Huffington Post reports that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating possible illegal insider trading of shares of Apple stock. Insider trading, or the buying and selling of stock by those with access to information not held by the general public, is closely regulated by the SEC.

Notably, the SEC is requesting information from brokers on trades made during four separate time periods, suggesting that there may be multiple suspected violations of insider trading regulations. Wall Street sources point to three probable areas of interest for the SEC:

--Whether anyone got an illegal lead on precisely how sales were faring on key items in Apple's highly successful Ipod product line.

--Whether anyone was given a precise insight into the health of the company's co-founder and CEO, Steve Jobs, a cancer survivor who took a six-month leave of absence last January and then received a liver transplant. Subsequent questions about the viability of his health then led to a great deal of volatility in Apple's shares.

--Whether anyone had exact knowledge of when specific releases would be made by the company with regard to Jobs' health or Ipod sales and pretty much of an awareness, as well, as to what those announcements would say.

The report cites one trader who noted that "it almost looked at times like the buyers and sellers were working at the company." Consequently, the SEC is looking to obtain information on the names of brokerage clients who traded in Apple stock during the time periods in question and who may have had access to non-public information about the company.

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