New stock symbol for Tweeter after Twitter mix-up

NEW YORK — 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, traded over the counter rather than on an exchange, fell 78 percent to 1 cent in afternoon trading Tuesday. It had closed at 1 cent on Thursday before the mix-up and jumped as high as 15 cents on Friday.

Twitter’s stock, meanwhile, won’t be available for 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 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.

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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