Apparently a little too used to the shorthand language of the Internet, investors confused the social media phenomenon Twitter with Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Inc. of Canton, driving shares of the former electronics retailer to soar by more than 1,000 percent Friday.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street's industry regulator, said Tweeter shares were halted Friday afternoon because of a misunderstanding related to the ''possible initial public offering of an unrelated security.''
Twitter is the San Francisco-based creator of the Internet tool for short messages, known as tweets. It has some 200-million-plus users and in preparation for becoming a public company has been valued at more than $12 billion. On Thursday Twitter offered investors details about its highly anticipated IPO, in which it hopes to raise about $1 billion, and proposed to trade under the stock symbol TWTR.
Tweeter is a bankrupt company and penny stock. On average about 29,000 shares of the company trade daily — minuscule by Wall Street standards. Its shares trade under the TWTRQ symbol.
But on Friday, after Twitter released its securities filing, some 14.4 million Tweeter shares traded hands, with prices peaking at 15 cents each before declining to 5 cents at the time of the trading halt. The previous day the stock had closed at one red cent per share.
The electronics chain was founded in 1972 and sold TVs, stereos, and other equipment, but the stores disappeared years ago. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2007 and closed the stores in 2008.