As part of its continuing effort to respond to potential attempts to exploit investors during the recent market volatility, the Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading Friday in the securities of 15 companies because of questionable trading and social media activity.
Today’s action follows the recent suspensions of the securities of numerous other issuers, many of which may also have been targets of apparent social media attempts to artificially inflate their stock price. The SEC continues to review market and trading data to identify other securities where the public interest and the protection of investors require trading suspensions.
“The SEC’s recent suspensions of trading in nearly two dozen securities – including 15 today – are one facet of our ongoing efforts to police the market and protect investors,” said Melissa Hodgman, Acting Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “We proactively monitor for suspicious trading activity tied to stock promotions on social media, and act quickly to stop that trading when appropriate to safeguard the public interest. We also remind investors to exercise caution and do their diligence before investing generally, including in companies promoted on social media.”
Today’s order states that trading is being suspended because of questions about recent increased activity and volatility in the trading of these issuers, as well as the influence of certain social media accounts on that trading activity. The order also states that none of the issuers has filed any information with the SEC or OTC Markets, where the companies’ securities are quoted, for over a year. As a result, the SEC suspended trading in the securities of: Bebida Beverage Co. (BBDA); Blue Sphere Corporation (BLSP); Ehouse Global Inc. (EHOS); Eventure Interactive Inc. (EVTI); Eyes on the Go Inc. (AXCG); Green Energy Enterprises Inc. (GYOG); Helix Wind Corp. (HLXW); International Power Group Ltd. (IPWG); Marani Brands Inc. (MRIB); MediaTechnics Corp. (MEDT); Net Talk.com Inc. (NTLK); Patten Energy Solutions Group Inc. (PTTN); PTA Holdings Inc. (PTAH); Universal Apparel & Textile Company (DKGR); and Wisdom Homes of America Inc. (WOFA).
The SEC also recently issued orders temporarily suspending trading in: Bangi Inc. (BNGI); Sylios Corp. (UNGS); Marathon Group Corp. (PDPR); Affinity Beverage Group Inc. (ABVG); All Grade Mining Inc. (HYII); and SpectraScience Inc. (SCIE). Each of these orders stated that the suspensions were due at least in part to questions about whether social media accounts have been attempting to artificially increase the companies’ share price.
Under the federal securities laws, the SEC can suspend trading in a stock for 10 days and generally prohibit a broker-dealer from soliciting investors to buy or sell the stock again until certain reporting requirements are met.
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy recently alerted investors to the significant risks of making investment decisions based on social media.