Don't Fall for This Twitter Trap


It will be months before Twitter's IPO possibly hits the market, but there was at least one publicly traded investment on the move today after yesterday's filing by the micro-blogging giant in anticipation of going public.

Firsthand Technology Value -- a closed-end fund that rallied last year when Facebook announced that it would be going public -- opened 8% higher today. Its second-largest holding just happens to be Twitter.

Now, don't get too excited. Before you fire off a buy order, keep in mind that Firsthand Technology Value soared a whopping 76% in a single week last year, only to give most of that back.

That rally lacked common sense, and that was months before Facebook's IPO fell flat. The tech fund's NAV was $23.92 per share at the end of 2011, and 82% of that was stocked away in cash. There was no reason for it to trade as high as $46.50 the month before Facebook went public. It was buying privately placed shares at roughly the same price that retail investors would.

To be fair, Firsthand Technology Value is in a better place these days. For starters, it's now showing a profit on paper with its Facebook investments, as the social networking juggernaut has bounced back in a major way. It's actually also trading at a surprising discount -- even after today's opening pop -- of its estimated gross assets of $25.80 per share.

The fund is still holding a lot of cash -- 52% of gross assets -- as of the end of last month.

This is still a concentrated portfolio, with big bets on Facebook at 11.2% of the fund's gross assets, and a 10.4% position of the fund's gross assets in Twitter.

It's that Twitter investment that could trigger another insane rally in Firsthand Technology Value. Buying in now, while the fund is trading near its NAV, is fine. Chasing it -- as speculators are bound to do in the coming days as they seek out ways to play the Twitter IPO -- will be dangerous and stupid.

Investors thinking that they had found the perfect Facebook coattails play last year were burned, and that will happen this time around if you wind up overpaying for this closed-end fund later this month.

Know what you're buying. Know how much you're paying. It may be fine to ride the potential rally here for now, but you better make sure you know when to jump back out.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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