Oops! Disney’s Earnings Released Early, Triggering Selloff

Draft sent at least 17 minutes early, sending shares down 2.9 percent before close

It appears that someone in Disney’s corporate communications department (Goofy?) had an itchy trigger figure on the (Mickey?) mouse, and it cost the company millions.

TheWrap received a draft (below) of Disney’s earnings release — reporting a 6.7 percent decline in fourth quarter profit, a weaker result than analysts had been expecting — at 3:44 p.m., or 17 minutes earlier than it should’ve been sent. (Other reports said the release was leaked as much as 30 minutes early, giving Wall Street investors a chance to react to the results ahead of the closing bell.)

The news sent Disney’s shares down about 5 percent before the stock market closed at 4:00 p.m., closing at $35.93 per share (down 2.9 percent for the day ) on heavy volume, with more than 37 million shares changing hands — well above its three-month average of about 10 million.

During Disney’s 4:30 conference call with investors, steamed executives acknowledged the release was sent erroneously, and that they were looking into how exactly it happened.

[Click to enlarge.]