Shares in CropLogic (ASX code CLI) have been heading south fairly steadily since August, but on October 18, the number of trades suddenly doubled and the price crashed 20 per cent.
That alarmed both the company and the stock market. The ASX sent CropLogic a "please explain" and the company promptly requested a trading halt.
On October 21, the company reported that an employee of one of CLI's contractors who used to work at the company's trial hemp farm in Oregon posted on his personal Instagram account an unauthorised video of mould on the farm.
An unnamed person then put the video on Twitter, with the comment "mould, mould, mould everywhere all mould all day".
CLI said the tweets were "false and misleading", and said mould had impacted an estimated 0.05pc of plants, "immaterial in the context of a 500 acre (208ha) farm".
At the same time, it released a detailed update on the hemp harvest. It also posted on its website a video of the harvest and methodologies being employed.
It said the harvest was progressing well and on track for the first deliveries to be made later this month.
The shares promptly bounced back to where they had been, in even heavier trading.
This was not a unique event. The company says there have been other recent tweets and comments on Hot Copper alleging hail and frost damage and accusing the company of insider trading and manipulating the share price.
"We do not know whether these individuals have themselves been trading in the company's shares or whether this is part of a strategy of manipulating the CLI share price," the company said.
The Punter could still sell his CLI at a small profit but has decided to keep them, particularly in light of the harvest update.
- The Punter has no financial qualifications and no links to the financial services industry. He owns shares in a number of companies featured in this column.