Has Twitter Finally Figured Out Its Bot Problem?
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Stock prices continue to hinge on the uncertain progress of U.S.-China trade negotiations.
Hopes for a deal were higher today and stocks were up sharply in the morning, though they lost steam in the afternoon. The Entrepreneur Index™ closed up 0.69 percent, while the Dow and S&P 500 indexes were up 0.64 percent and 0.54 percent respectively. The Nasdaq composite index gained 0.95 percent.
Twitter, up 5.25 percent today, had the biggest gain on the Entrepreneur Index™. It continues to recover much of the ground lost since July when active account users fell for the first time on the social media network. That was largely because of Twitter's ongoing efforts to rid the network of automated "bot" accounts spreading politically and/or commercially motivated messages.
The market appears to believe the company has a handle on the issue now. The stock has been one of the hottest in the volatile tech sector of late. It is up 37 percent from the October low and has risen 14 percent in the last five trading sessions.
Ever-volatile Wynn Resorts had one of the biggest gains on the day, rising 3.66 percent. Meanwhile, O'Reilly Automotive Inc. continues to thrive. The auto-parts retailer's stock was up 3.25 percent today and has risen 47 percent this year. Other good gains were posted by Ralph Lauren Corp. (2.69 percent), salesforce.com (2.41 percent) and Cerner Corp. (2.13 percent).
Investor day at Under Armour Inc. was one to forget for shareholders this year. The stock fell 10.44 percent -- the biggest decline on the Entrepreneur Index™ today -- as executives at the apparel-maker addressed analysts and investors about the company's outlook.
Analysts are skeptical of the company's ability to grow sales, particularly in the competitive U.S. market where sales are falling for the company. Under Armour has also not entirely put a cultural issue centered on the inappropriate expensing of entertainment by employees--think strip clubs--behind it. Two marketing executives close to CEO Kevin Plank were fired this week. The stock has recovered nicely from a three-year slide, up 43 percent this year, but is down 18 percent in the last four trading sessions.
Outside of Under Armour, the REITs were the weakest performers on the Entrepreneur Index™ today. The sector followed the "rates up/REITs down" trading adage. The 10-year Treasury bond yield rose three points today and all nine REITs in the index were down on the day. Shopping center operator Macerich Company (-4.48 percent), SL Green Realty Corp. (-2.77 percent) and Kimco Realty Corp. (-2.75 percent) had the biggest declines.
The Entrepreneur Index™ collects the top 60 publicly traded companies founded and run by entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit is a valuable asset for any business, and this index recognizes its importance, no matter how much a company has grown. These inspirational businesses can be tracked in real time on Entrepreneur.com.