NEW YORK CITY - Overall, it was a down day on wall street, but a very big day for one company in particular. Twitter made its stock market debut, and it proved to be a major hit with investors. A high profile set of tweeters, including actor Patrick Stewart, rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday morning, signaling the start of a milestone day for Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
Demand was such that it started trading at $45.10, which was 73% above its $26 initial public offering price. At one point, the stock moved above $50 before settling back into the mid $40's. The stock closed at $44.90.
"You look at the trading history of Facebook, Linked In, Groupon, Zynga, all these deals that came in the last couple of years. None of them traded like this. They all traded poorly the first few days out of the box," said Chris Baggini, a securities analyst with Turner Investment Partners.
Today's IPO puts a value on Twitter of roughly $31 billion, more than Macy's department store. Having already avoided the glitches of Facebook's IPO a year-and-a-half ago, Twitter has to prove that money spent today on a company that's yet to turn a profi is money well spent. Twitter currently has about 232 million users worldwide, but does not project a profit until 2015. Tech analysts say they'll need to increase revenues from commerce and advertising in order to meet that goal.