AOL's Arianna Huffington said at a conference today, "if you buy some AOL stock right now, you're going to make a lot of money." And people actually listened; AOL stock hit a 19-day peak. What is wrong with people?
Huffington might actually have violated SEC guidelines for market manipulation, according to The Next Web and Forbes. The law forbids creating an "artificial, false or misleading appearance" with regard to stock price. But there's a bigger question: Who thinks it's a good idea to take investment advice from Arianna Huffington in the first place?
She's clearly been a pioneering and successful web mogul, sure. But let's not forget it took five years for the Huffington Post to turn a profit — and the vast majority of its writers work for free!
It didn't help that Huffington was a legendary spendthrift whose expenditures are said to have regularly brought her into conflict with HuffPo's board; besides using employees for personal errands, she also wanted to buy a private HuffPo jet. And now she's making some very sketchy statements about AOL shares. Hmm.
Of course, Huffington did sell her startup for $315 million. So she's got in that in her favor. Then again, she had gullible AOL investors to sell it to.