Sometimes I see obvious errors in the 10-K or 10-Q filings that appear to go uncorrected in subsequent filings for the same period.

For example, on June 9, 2014 Apple, Inc. did a 7-to-1 stock split. If you look at all of the CommonStockSharesOutstanding tag field values in all of the 10-K or 10-Q filings leading up to (but not including) the split, you'll see numbers around 940,000,000. But then things get strange.

On April 24, 2014 (before the split) there are two 10-Q filings (with different DDATEs and the same ADSH, 0001193125-14-157311) that report CommonStockSharesOutstanding of 889,213 (wrong by a factor of about 1,000). There is no subsequent filing to correct this for 3 months until two July 23, 2014 filings (with different DDATEs and the same ADSH, 0001193125-14-277160) which reports CommonStockSharesOutstanding of 6,294,494,000 and 5,989,171,000, respectively, reflecting the June 9 7-to-1 split.

Thus, for three months (April 24, 2014 to July 23, 2014) the value of CommonStockSharesOutstanding was around 900,000 instead of the approximately correct value of 6,300,000,000 up to the split date.

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How should these errors, and specifically this type of error, be handled? This data comes straight from the SEC so I don't think there's a more accurate source. Is there? What to do...?



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