04 May 2015 Opening Cross: In the Interest of Full Disclosure
In today’s age of fast-moving market information and highly sensitive data, you would think that companies would take more steps to guard against market-moving data unwittingly becoming public. So it was a shock to the market when Twitter’s financial results hit the internet early last week, after New York-based low-latency events data provider Selerity found the results—which revealed that the microblogging site missed earnings expectations—online and tweeted them early on Tuesday, April 28.
The result was a drop in Twitter’s share price as those armed with the early information were able to trade while others were still waiting for the official results. What’s particularly shocking is that this isn’t the first time Selerity has scooped a major corporate’s earnings—and without any hacking to obtain the information—in 2011, it put its name firmly on the map when it found Microsoft had posted its financial results early on its website. Selerity merely scrapes web pages. The vendor figures out what the URL for an earnings release is likely to be, then checks that page to see whether anything has appeared. Even if an item has not been ranked to appear on a company’s homepage yet, it may already be published, just hanging out, waiting to be moved to a more prominent position.