Many of us use Stockwatch (www.stockwatch.com) to monitor our investments in stocks trading on the North American exchanges. Stockwatch touts itself as “…the inexpensive subscription-only source of real-time quotes, trades and market depth for companies listed on the major North American stock markets.”
On the same web page, Stockwatch states, “Stockwatch meets the needs of casual, serious and professional investors with unlimited real-time market data, company news bulletins, dynamic charts, analytical tools, and many other advanced features for active traders. Stockwatch – on the web since 1995 with no hype – just the facts…”
This is false. Stockwatch does not provide just the facts nor does it provide all of the facts.
For years I’ve been complaining about Stockwatch’s policy of changing press release (PR) headlines before they post them to their site and email them to their subscribers. Before Stockwatch posts new PRs, it takes upon itself to give them a cursory read and to then offer their own take on the PR by replacing the PR’s title with its own comment.
An extraordinary example of this Stockwatch practise involved a recent press release from biOasis Technologies, Inc., (V:BTI). On June 14, 2017, biOasis issued a PR with the title, “Bioasis CEO Dr. Mark Day Releases Details of Corporate Plans in Message to Shareholders.” On the Stockwatch biOasis news page and in the email I received, Stockwatch replaced the PR’s title with, “Bioasis assesses, to continue with Transcend platform.”
This title from Stockwatch implies that biOasis assessed the Transcend Platform in order to determine whether it was worth taking it forward, and biOasis has decided that, after the assessment, it is, indeed, going to move forward with the platform. THERE WAS NEVER ANY QUESTION ABOUT MOVING THE PLATFORM FORWARD! Stockwatch completely misrepresented the content and intent of this press release!
It’s tough enough for public companies to issue accurate PRs that adequately explain news and intentions without the messenger, Stockwatch, injecting their own ill-informed opinions and editorial content into the exercise!
But wait! There’s more!
On June 4, 2017, biOasis issued a PR informing the market that the CEO, Dr. Mark Day, would be attending a Lysosomal Storage Disease Workshop in Germany. And then, on June 8, 2017, biOasis issued another PR detailing the Global Chinese Financial Forum – Shanghai Conference 2017 to be attended by the biOasis CEO, Dr. Mark Day, and the Board Chairman, Rob Hutchison.
These two PRs were never posted by Stockwatch. They do not exist on Stockwatch. Apparently Stockwatch reserves the right to decide what is material and what is not with respect to press releases. If they think a press release does not contain what they consider to be material news, then they will reject the press release and will not post it to their site.
Many investors, especially in the biotech world, are aware of the many conferences, forums and workshops that are relevant to their investments. Many investors call the company’s IR people to ask whether the company will be attending these events. Others ask the same questions on forums like Stockhouse. Companies are aware of this interest and issue the press releases to inform their shareholders who want to know these things.
Stockwatch is not the arbiter of what is material and what is not! Investors take that responsibility. It’s investor money that’s on the line. And then even more of our good money is being paid to Stockwatch to provide us with the news that we make decisions about and with.
Finally, Stockwatch strips the “Safe Harbour” and “About the Company” statements from press releases. These statements change from time to time and wise investors look for these changes. Stockwatch must post all press releases, complete and without changes, including all “Safe Harbour” statements and other PR content.
Stockwatch does not provide us with “just the facts.” It provides us with their unwanted opinions when they change the PR titles. And they are certainly not providing us with all of the news. They are providing us with only the the news that they deem to be material. It’s rather astonishing that Stockwatch wastes its money and time providing us with less news than we need and opinions that we do not want.
This Stockwatch subscriber is looking for a new provider, one that provides all the news, provides it accurately, and, optionally, one that has a nice graphical interface, not one that is over 20 years old.
© 2017 John N. Davenport