The firm said the headlines were published as a result of a “technical error” in a statement, but gave no further information on the cause of the problems.
Pictures posted online which purport to show the wire feed show stories claiming Google will buy Apple for $9bn, and another claiming Google will take over Apple’s headquarters. Other headlines appeared to be test messages.
Apple’s shares were mostly unmoved by the stories, likely because of the outlandish nature of the claims. A $9bn purchase would represent something of a discount from Apple’s current market capitalisation of more than $800bn.
Dow Jones’s statement said: “Please disregard the headlines that ran on Dow Jones Newswires between 9:34 a.m. ET and 9:36 a.m. ET. Due to a technical error, the headlines were published. All of those headlines are being removed from the wires. We apologize for the error.”
While the market effects of the erroneous Dow Jones stories appear to have been minimal, previous false posts from newswires have resulted in dramatic market movements. In 2013 the Twitter feed of the Associated Press was hacked, with billions wiped off stock markets after the hackers said President Barack Obama had been injured by an explosion at the White House in Washington.
Newswires are also important because of the significant presence of algorithmic traders, some of which make trades almost instantly based on the automatic interpretation of news stories.
Algorithmic traders were blamed at first for the so-called flash crash of sterling last year, with speculation that a news story about comments from Francois Hollande on Brexit may have been the trigger for a sharp move downwards against the US dollar. However, the Bank for International Settlements later found this was not the case.