Outlook: Red-faced Reuters

Outlook: Red-faced Reuters

ABSOLUTELY NOT! The very thought of it sickens us to the bone! We would never do such a thing. Definitely not! Thus did Reuters protest yesterday at suggestions that favoured analysts in New York had received price sensitive information when they met with executives of the group's Instinet electronic share trading offshoot the other day.

Whether or not this is true, there is no doubt that the analysts thought they had been given some kind of steer. Before the night was out they had rushed to their desks to downgrade their profits forecasts and dump the stock, causing one of the most dramatic one day falls in the price of a leading FTSE 100 stock for many a year.

It was reported by the opposition, Bloomberg, that analysts had been told Nasdaq volumes in July and August had been lower, from which they reasonably deduced - nudge, nudge, wink, wink - that Instinet's volumes were lower too. Since this is the fastest growing part of the group, helping to justify its premium rating, this intelligence obviously changes the picture a bit. Whether by enough to justify such a violent share price reaction is a moot point, but someone's made more than a bob or two out of it all. It's nice to be an insider, but what about the rest of us?

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