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The attempt or act to artificially change the price of a security or a market movement with the intent to make a profit. One example is wash selling, in which an investor both sells then quickly re-buys the same security, hoping to create the impression of increased trading volume, and therefore raise the price. Another is churning, in which an investor makes both buy and sell orders through different brokers to create the impression of increased interest in the security and raise the price. Manipulation can be used to both increase and decrease prices, depending on the investor's perceived needs. Manipulation is illegal under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. See also: Antitrust, Fix.
To cause a security to sell at an artificial price. Although investment bankers are permitted to manipulate temporarily the stock they underwrite, most other forms of manipulation are illegal.
Case Study Manipulation of security prices is not limited to industry professionals out for a quick buck. In early 2001 the Securities and Exchange Commission settled securities fraud charges with former burrito vendor Yun Soo Oh Park IV, known to his Internet followers as "Tokyo Joe." As part of the settlement Park agreed to return nearly a quarter of a million dollars in trading profits. According to SEC charges, to which Park did not admit or deny wrongdoing, the 50-year-old Korean native engaged in stock manipulation by recommending on Internet message boards stocks he already owned. He then sold his own shares as the recommended stocks rose in price. As Park's legend grew several thousand people agreed to pay an annual fee to receive an advance notice of his postings. The SEC also charged that Park was paid by a firm to recommend its stock. Park's lawyers claimed their client's actions were protected by free speech and not subject to federal securities regulation.