Sun-Sentinel Error Temporarily Crashes United Airlines

From the Chicago Tribune:

United Airlines' stock fell more than 75 percent Monday morning after a nearly six-year-old Chicago Tribune news report was posted on Bloomberg News Service.

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 was trading recently at $8.97, down $3.03 for the day.

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 Co. newspapers. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's version of the story was the one that was cited by Bloomberg. The story did not appear on the Web site of the Chicago Tribune.

In a statement this morning, United said it has demanded a retraction from the Sun-Sentinel and is launching an investigation. United exited bankruptcy in February 2006.

What a monumental screwup -- hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shareholders' value in screwup, as a matter of fact. They've got the pitchforks pointed out and torches fired up on the Yahoo Finance message board. They're all talking about massive lawsuits.

On the topic of litigation: I don't think United really has a suit, since investors are already flocking back to the company and it will trade at whatever the market deems fair. Some of those poor retail investors who lost a lot of money? That's a different story.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman