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Fake memo causes Wall Street panic

Internet pranksters showed this week how easy it is to start a panic on Wall Street with a fake memo that caused a drop in Apple Inc. share prices.

Just a little dab of negative news will do it as someone proved by shaking up Apple shareholders with a fake e-mailed memo alerting them that introduction of the highly anticipated iPhone would be held up. That turned out to be a $2.8 billion joke. The message said the iPhone, a touch-screen hybrid phone and music player, was being delayed from June to October, The Washington Post reported Friday. Further, the phone alert said Leopard, the next version of the Mac operating system, would also be delayed. In about two hours, by the time Apple said the message was a fake, a trading frenzy of Apple stock sent the company's market value plunging $2.8 billion, or 3%, from $107.89 to $104.61. By day's end, things had been set straight and the stock had largely recovered, closing at $107.29 a share. (