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The secret moves tech giants use to manipulate stock prices

The secret moves tech giants use to manipulate stock prices
Bogdan Stojkov

In finance, tech giants’ maneuvers wield significant influence over stock prices. Behind the veneer of innovation and disruption lie intricate strategies designed to sway markets and maximize profits. From strategic announcements to calculated acquisitions, different tactics are deployed to shape investor sentiment and drive stock prices. In this piece, we take a look at some of them.

Strategic announcements

One of the most common tools that tech giants deploy when manipulating stock prices is carefully orchestrating the unveiling of a new product or service. Namely, the mere whisper of a groundbreaking innovation can send ripples through the stock market, triggering frenzied buying or selling.

Companies time announcements to coincide with favorable market conditions, exploiting investor psychology to amplify the impact on stock prices. Hence, regardless if it’s the unveiling of the latest smartphone or a new technology like artificial intelligence or blockchain, these events are well-choreographed to generate hype and bolster shareholder confidence.

Strategic acquisitions

Another tactic favored by major tech players is the strategic acquisition of promising startups or established competitors. In essence, these maneuvers serve multiple purposes—from eliminating potential threats to augmenting existing product portfolios. However, their impact on stock prices extends beyond the immediate implications of the deal itself.

By signaling their commitment to growth and innovation through strategic acquisitions, companies can signal their strength and resilience to investors, boosting confidence and driving up stock prices. Moreover, the strategic integration of acquired assets can unlock synergies and fuel future growth, further enhancing shareholder value over the long term.

Share buybacks

Tech giants also leverage their vast resources to engage in share buybacks—a practice in which companies repurchase their own shares from the open market. 

While seemingly aimed at returning value to shareholders and signaling confidence in the company’s prospects, share buybacks can also serve as a covert mechanism for manipulating stock prices. Namely, by reducing the number of shares outstanding, companies artificially inflate earnings per share, a key metric used by investors to gauge profitability.

Share buybacks can create a perception of financial strength and drive up stock prices, even in the absence of underlying improvements in business fundamentals.

For instance, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) announced a $90 billion share repurchase program last year, signaling confidence in its financial strength and driving up its stock price. Still, it wasn’t the only major company to do so, with many others doing the same.

Playing the system

Tech giants aren’t averse to exploiting regulatory loopholes or engaging in dubious accounting practices to manipulate stock prices. Whether it’s exploiting tax havens to minimize tax liabilities or engaging in creative financial engineering to inflate reported earnings, companies often resort to sneaky tactics to bolster their stock prices.

While these maneuvers may yield short-term gains, they can erode trust and credibility over the long term, undermining investor confidence and exposing companies to regulatory scrutiny and legal repercussions.

Shaping the narrative

In addition to the previously mentioned tactics, the big tech guns also wield considerable influence over stock prices through more subtle means, such as strategic communications and media manipulation.

By cultivating relationships with influential journalists and analysts, companies can shape the narrative surrounding their stock and influence investor sentiment. Whether it’s planting favorable stories in the press or orchestrating exclusive interviews with top executives, these efforts can subtly sway public perception and drive stock prices in the desired direction.

Market manipulation

Lastly, we should mention that tech giants aren’t above resorting to outright manipulation of market mechanisms to engineer favorable outcomes. From spoofing and layering to pump-and-dump schemes, companies can exploit vulnerabilities in market infrastructure to manipulate stock prices for their own gain.

While regulatory authorities have stepped up efforts to combat such practices, the ever-evolving nature of financial markets presents a formidable challenge in detecting and deterring such illicit activities.

There have been various instances of tech companies facing allegations of market manipulation. For example, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and its CEO Elon Musk have been the subject of scrutiny for their tweets and statements that have led to significant fluctuations in Tesla’s stock price, raising questions about potential market manipulation.

The bottom line

The nature of financial markets provides ample opportunities for tech giants to manipulate stock prices to their advantage. Whether through strategic announcements, calculated acquisitions, or covert tactics, the big players leverage their immense resources and expertise to shape investor sentiment and drive stock prices in their favor.

While the mentioned tactics may yield short-term gains, the long-term consequences of such manipulative practices can be far-reaching, undermining market integrity and eroding investor trust in the process. As regulators and market participants grapple with the challenges posed by increasingly sophisticated forms of market manipulation, the battle to preserve the integrity and transparency of financial markets rages on.

Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk.

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