August 8 Update: Previously I deleted all the stock market posts because of what was happening in the market. I’m putting them back now.
Yesterday the price of a certain stock, which I can’t mention here because I’m no longer recommending stocks on this site, was different on Etrade’s main website than it was on Etrade’s MarketCaster service. The price on MarketCaster was lower than the bid price listed on the website. I called customer service. They said maybe someone had offered the stock at that price. I thought about that and decided it didn’t make sense—someone would also have had to buy it at that price, but how would they do that when it’s lower than the bid price?
I called back. The next person I talked to checked Bloomberg to see what they had for the last price. They had the lower price with an ‘AP’ after it. He said AP means ‘average price’. As I understand it, the OTC traders just threw that price out there although no one was buying it at that price.
As he gave me this information, the price on MarketCaster corrected itself so that it matched the price on the website and almost immediately both the bid and ask prices on the website moved higher.
Update: I no longer own any of the stocks mentioned in this blog.