New stock symbol for Tweeter after Twitter mix-up


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NEW YORK (AP) - Tweeter is not Twitter. And its stock symbol has changed to avoid any confusion.

The bankrupt electronics retailer's stock resumed trading Tuesday under "THEGQ." Its old symbol was "TWTRQ."

That was apparently too similar to "TWTR," the symbol proposed by Twitter on Thursday when the messaging service filed plans for its highly anticipated initial public offering.

Some confused investors sent Tweeter's stock up as much as 1,400 percent on Friday. And trading volume skyrocketed to 14.4 million shares. Over the past year, the daily average was about 29,000, according to FactSet.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street's industry regulator, halted trading of Tweeter's stock Friday afternoon to because of the misunderstanding. To avoid "further confusion," Finra decided to change Tweeter's symbol, the group said. The trades from last week will stand, however. Finra said that if the trades are canceled, it will notify markets.

Tweeter's stock, which is traded over the counter, fell 73 percent to 1 cent Tuesday. That matched its closing price on Thursday, before the mix-up. The stock had jumped as high as 15 cents on Friday.

Even if a company is no longer in business, trading in its stock can still continue, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC doesn't ban those types of stocks from being traded. Trading stops only when the company has the shares deregistered or if its stock registration is revoked.

Twitter's stock, meanwhile, won't be available for public trading until the social media company actually goes public. That could be before Thanksgiving.

Anticipation around Twitter's IPO is high among investors after Facebook Inc. went public in May 2012.

San Francisco-based Twitter's network is based on the 140-character messages of its users _ about 218 million at last count. That's far fewer users than Facebook, which has more than 1 billion. But the service gets attention. Celebrities, from Oprah Winfrey to Justin Bieber, send messages, or tweets, on Twitter. And many TV networks and news organizations encourage their viewers and readers to follow their Twitter pages. The company makes the bulk of its money from advertising.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Attempts to reach a trustee for Tweeter were unsuccessful.

Tweeter was founded in 1972. The Canton, Mass., chain had sold TVs, audio equipment and other electronics, but the stores disappeared years ago. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2007 and closed the stores in 2008.

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Follow Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisani


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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