Stocks Drop Despite Positive GDP Data and Twitter IPO

Stocks Drop Despite Positive GDP Data and Twitter IPO

We'll spare you the "140 character" jokes and bird noise analogies -- Twitter's eagerly anticipated IPO dominated Wall Street news on Thursday... but it wasn't the only market mover. The Dow plummeted 153 points Thursday as investors reacted to tweet-worthy news on U.S. GDP growth.

1. Twitter flies 73% in stock market debut
Twitter's stock is up 73% year to date, even if it's only been 24 hours. The short-messaging service Twitter (NYSE: TWTR)debuted on the New York Stock Exchange Thursday as a publicly traded company. Its profits are $0. It's revenues are tiny. But the social media legend was badly sought after by investors the day of its initial public offering (IPO) -- its shares popped in price from $26, to $45, almost immediately, and the company's market value is officially $24 billion after day No, 1.

No glitches, no problem! After last year's embarrassment known as Facebook's IPO, led by the Nasdaq exchange, the New York Stock Exchange handled the onslaught of demand like the legendary Wall Street icon that it is. There will be no angry stockbrokers and lawsuits after today, only many many positive tweets. Oh, the tweets.

The stock sale raised about $1.3 billion for Twitter, meaning that most shares just remained happy in the pockets of pre-IPO shareholders on Thursday. The top shareholder, Twitter Chairman Jack Dorsey, should be pleased that the closing price of $45 values his ownership at a cool $1.1 billion.

Is Twitter really a $24 billion company? Many stock analysts immediately slapped "sell" recommendations on the stock as the value is difficult to justify, because there's virtually no profits to share with investors. After all, single sentence comments, and arbitrary and borderline annoying hashtags, are difficult to monetize. Once the IPO hysteria dies, Wall Street will be watching the stock price to see if investors really believe that Twitter can generate billions in profits, in addition to the billions of petty pet status updates... #doggynaptime.

2. Third-quarter GDP shocks investors with 2.8% growth
To quote LL Cool J, "Don't call it a comeback." According to the Commerce Department, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a measure of the economy's total goods and services output, rose a hefty 2.8% during the third quarter of 2013 -- significantly higher than the 2% economic growth that Wall Street expected. The MarketSnacks team takes partial credit for all the Snickers we've purchased and consumed over the last two weeks.

Keep in mind that this is just the first of three readings on the ol' GDP. Every month, the U.S. government releases a reading on the previous quarter's GDP performance. For all you math wizards, that means there are three readings in total for every quarter, and this was release numero uno for the third quarter. Just as a heads up, GDP growth was 2.5% last quarter, but expectations have been lower going into the end of the year, given the government shutdown, and general worries about the health of the U.S. economic recovery.

What's in the details? Good question. A few key gains boosted U.S. growth. On the bright side, business purchases of products to be held in inventory jumped by $86 billion, while U.S. exports popped by 4.5%. On the not-so-bright side, personal consumption by Americans decreased by 1.5%. But it wasn't enough to stop America's economic mojo from pushing along between July and September.

So why did stocks drop if the economy had a good lookin' quarter? Because Wall Street is focused on stimulus. It sounds counter intuitive, but even though it's a thumbs-up event that GDP growth topped expectations, investors worry that good news about the economy will mean the Federal Reserve will cut short its stimulus policies that have been keeping interest rates low to encourage borrowing. Economic recovery is nice, but investors love the economic protein shake the Fed keeps serving up, too.

3. Disney earnings get two thumbs up
The force is strong with Mickey, because Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS)topped quarterly earnings estimates like a big kid beating the height requirement stick to ride on Splash Mountain. Disney's revenues rose 7%, to $11.5 billion last quarter, and net income is up to $6.1 billion on the year.

The big surprise was from a galaxy far, far away. Remember how Disney bought the Star Wars franchise around this time last year? Well just after the earnings report, Disney announced its release date for Star Wars Episode VII for December 18th, 2015. Before Star Wars fanatics get carpal tunnel while aggressively blogging for the next few days about the ramifications of the announcement, keep in mind that this is over two years away.

The takeaway is that Disney is crushing it right now both on the screen, and off. Media networks, boosted partially by ESPN affiliate fees (remember Disney owns the world's sports network), continue to be Walt's biggest revenues generator, while box office hits Iron Man 3 and The Avengers boosted studio entertainment by 3% this year. Plus, Walt Disney World theme park set a new attendance record this year, resulting in its second biggest year by revenues ever. We don't know what mice do with money, but Mickey is bringing home some serious critter bacon.


  • The big October U.S. Nonfarm Payrolls Report (reveals the number of jobs added last month and the unemployment rate)

  • Third-Quarter Earnings from Nathan's Famous Hotdogs.

MarketSnacks Fact of the Day: Starbucks goes through 3 billion paper coffee cups every year.

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Fool contributor Jack Kramer has no position in any stocks mentioned. Fool contributor Nick Martell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. 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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