Sun, Nov 10, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Twitter IPO stars in roller-coaster week of Wall Street trade

AFP, NEW YORK

Twitter Inc held center stage on Wall Street in a week of rocky trade that ultimately held up against sell-offs of bubbly tech shares to set a new Dow Jones Industrial Average record.

Twitter’s long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) dazzled the market as the company jacked up its first offer price by one-third to answer demand, only to see the shares still rocket almost 73 percent on the opening day.

The markets overall went in the opposite direction on Thursday, yet rebounded 24 hours later buoyed by strong economic data, despite the suggestion that it could spell earlier policy tightening by the US Federal Reserve.

The Dow ended the week at a new high of 15,761.78, up 0.9 percent for the period, while the S&P 500 ended a bare point below its record at 1,770.61, for a gain of 0.5 percent. By contrast, the NASDAQ struggled with the sell-off of tech stocks Tesla Motors Inc and Facebook Inc — with some investors rotating into Twitter — to lose 0.1 percent overall at 3,919.23.

The largest of a growing flood of IPOs taking advantage of easy investor cash, Twitter originally proposed an issue price of US$17 to US$20. Yet as demand for the 70 million shares soared, it punched the price up to between US$23 and US$25, and then finally US$26, collecting US$1.8 billion.

When they hit the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday, the shares jumped as high as US$50 before finishing at US$44.90, valuing the still profit-less company higher than US$24 billion. On Friday, the shares slipped, but were still at a respectable US$41.65.

The week was also marked by a mixed bag of quarterly earnings results: gaining on positive results were JC Penney Co Inc, Transocean Ltd, Disney Co, Time Warner Inc, and CVS Caremark Corp; while disappointments came from chipmaker Qualcomm Inc, Whole Foods Market Inc, Tesla, Chesapeake Energy and Hertz Corp.

The biggest contrast to Twitter was struggling BlackBerry Ltd, which plunged on Monday on the news that it would not be sold. With its fate still in question, it lost 15.6 percent for the week.

The markets took in stride two strong economic reports that months earlier would have sent shivers through traders as harbingers of tightening by the Fed.

On Thursday, the government said the US economy expanded at a 2.8 percent pace in the third quarter — much faster than expected — and the jobs report that followed a day later showed that 204,000 net new posts were created last month. The figure was double what was expected, despite the partial government shutdown earlier last month.

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