Twitter on pace to be biggest S&P 500 loser for 3Q

Lily Katz

Twitter Inc. is on track to seize a title no company wants: the worst performer in the S&P 500 Index.

If shares of the social-media giant hold at their current level through today’s close, they will end the third quarter with a loss of about 34 percent. That would be worse than any other company in the S&P 500.

Twitter’s tough quarter was set off by a disappointing earnings report. The stock plunged the most in four years after the firm said in July that monthly users had dropped by 1 million in the second quarter and predicted further declines as it fights against spam, fake accounts and malicious rhetoric. Shares sunk further earlier this month after an analyst at MoffettNathanson flagged “smoke and mirrors” in the company’s expense reporting.

Short interest has risen to almost 8 percent of float, according to data from financial-analytics firm S3 Partners, which compares to under 5 percent at the end of July.

The worst quarterly performers in the S&P 500 after Twitter are IPG Photonics Corp. with a 29 percent drop and Western Digital Corp. with a 25 percent decline.