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Associated Press
Tweeter was an electronics retailer that closed its stores, including one in Salem, N.H., in 2009. But its stock is still listed, and its symbol has tricked investors.

Stock symbol bit too similar

Bankrupt retailer changes it to end Twitter mix-up

– Tweeter is not Twitter. And it changed its stock symbol Tuesday to avoid any confusion.

The bankrupt electronics retailer’s new ticker symbol is “THEGQ.” Its old symbol was “TWTRQ.”

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

Some confused investors sent Tweeter’s stock up as much as 1,400 percent 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. The over-the-counter stock resumed trading with its new stock symbol Tuesday.

Tweeter’s stock was down 76 percent to 1 cent in afternoon trading. It 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 has about 218 million users, far fewer than Facebook, which has more than 1 billion. But celebrities are on it. And many TV networks and news organizations encourage their viewers and readers to follow their Twitter pages.

Tweeter, meanwhile, 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 began closing the stores in 2008.

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