Shares of Avon Products Inc. fell another 1.5 percent to $6.97 in the first hour of New York Stock Exchange trading Friday morning following what turned out to be a bogus takeover offer Thursday from an apparently nonexistent British investment firm.
Shares later recovered slightly by midday, to less than 1 percent down at $7.03.
Avon’s stock moved to $8, 19.9 percent above its opening price, on Thursday after the Securities and Exchange Commission posted a filing from PTG Capital Partners saying it had offered to buy all of the company’s shares for $18.75, or a total of $8.2 billion.
But shares descended closer to their opening price of $6.67 after Avon said it hadn’t received any offers “from such an entity and has not been able to confirm that such an entity exists.”
Shares closed at $7.07 Thursday, a 6 percent increase.
The Avon hoax is likely to spark scrutiny of the SEC’s document filing system, EDGAR, which put the filing from PTG online.
A spokeswoman for the SEC said, “Under the federal securities laws, filers are responsible for the truthfulness of their filings, and they are subject to enforcement actions when they are false or misleading. The SEC receives about 4,000 EDGAR filings daily, which are automatically available to the public and involve more than 300,000 individual and 28,000 company and mutual fund filers.”
The S&P 500 Retail Industry Group advanced 0.2 percent, to 1,139.19, in early Friday trading, but the gains didn’t extend to many stores that have disappointed investors with first-quarter results in recent days.
Among retailers reporting results late Thursday, Dillard’s Inc. began the last day of the trading week shedding 7.8 percent to $114.48 following declines in first-quarter profits and merchandise sales that were greater than anticipated.
Also reporting after the close of the markets, Nordstrom turned in a 9.8 percent gain in sales but an 8.6 percent decline in profits, in line with its own expectations but below those of Wall Street analysts.
The Seattle-based department store’s shares opened higher Friday before moving down 0.6 percent to $73.68.
Kohl’s Corp. recovered a small portion of the market capitalization lost on Thursday as shares rose 0.3 percent to $65.02 after falling 13.3 percent, to $64.62, on Thursday, when it reported revenues that fell short of analysts’ estimates for revenues despite a slight “beat” on earnings.
“Equity markets are hard to predict, to say the least,” Kohl’s chief executive officer Kevin Mansell told reporters at the company’s annual meeting on Thursday.