‘Signal’ stock surges 438 percent after Elon Musk tweet confuses traders

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It’s a case of mixed signals.

Confused traders sent an obscure medical-device company’s stock price up more than 400 percent in one day after Elon Musk urged them to use a messaging app with the same name.

The bizarre rally started after the billionaire Tesla chief told his 42 million Twitter followers to “Use Signal” on Thursday, apparently referring to the mobile app that lets users exchange encrypted messages.

But investors instead bought up shares of Signal Advance Inc., a small Texas-based outfit that makes devices used to detect various health problems.

The company’s stock, traded over the counter, spiked to $3.76 on the day of Musk’s tweet from 60 cents the day before. The shares nearly doubled to $7.19 on Friday and then skyrocketed 438 percent to $38.70 on Monday despite news reports about the apparent ticker confusion.

Signal Advance didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday morning. But CEO Chris Hymel told Bloomberg News that the company “strongly recommend[s] people do their due diligence and always invest with care.”

Investors looking to buy stock in the Signal app are out of luck — it’s owned by the Signal Foundation, a roughly three-year-old nonprofit.

The app has seen a boom of its own in recent days since rival WhatsApp issued an update to its privacy policy that allows it to share user data with Facebook, its parent company.

Some 810,000 users around the world installed Signal on Sunday, nearly 18 times the number seen on Jan. 6, the day of WhatsApp’s privacy change, data from research firm AppTopia show.

Signal warned investors that it “has absolutely nothing to do” with Signal Advance’s stock as the latter firm’s share price exploded.

“It’s understandable that people want to invest in Signal’s record growth, but this isn’t us,” the app said on Twitter. “We’re an independent 501c3 and our only investment is in your privacy.”

With Post wires

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