2012: The Year in StockTwits Trending Tickers

StockTwits Trending Tickers have become a must follow gauge of social momentum in the markets over shorter periods of time.

They capture the pulse of the market at any given moment.

We’ve also been tracking broader changes in social momentum over the course of 2012.

The following list includes tickers that the StockTwits community has swarmed around. Some of the tickers are hugely popular while others are stocks and stories you might have missed with little mainstream media coverage even as they captured the energy of real market participants.

1. The Facebook IPO

On May 18th, Facebook IPO’d and StockTwits streamed over 4000 messages tagged $FB.

The greater the hype, the greater the let down and in this case the let down was monumental as the offering was filled with problems from the underwriters who unleashed a ton of stock at a high price to the exchanges to the brokers. Trades got hung up and many did not know for hours whether they owned the stock or at what price. Meanwhile, the underwriters supported the stock at the IPO price into the close though the writing was on the wall.

@mikenjax nailed it that same evening before the real selling began…

The underwriters supporting the stock was indeed extraordinary:

And the uncanny foreshadow…

2. Google’s Accidental Earnings Release and Subsequent Blow Up

A month after the $FB IPO faltered, $GOOG began a run from the 560 June low to its 770 high in early October. On October 18th, $GOOG accidently released earnings early during market hours and subsequently fell 60 points before the closing bell on disappointing numbers. $GOOG tagged message volume was 10x normal that day on StockTwits and some keen observers were appropriately focused on mobile:

3. Apple’s Fall From Grace

During 2012, $AAPL had more message volume than any other ticker and since it topped in mid September has averaged over 2000 messages tagged $AAPL per day!

The technicians on the StockTwits Charts Stream nailed the $AAPL reversal, early and often. Terrific work guys…

This one from early November via @KimbleCharting captured the notorious Eiffel Tower Pattern 65 points ago. Classic…

 While @FitzStock2004 caught it about as close to the top as anyone…

4. The U.S. Housing Recovery

The homebuilders’ index ($XHB) rose 50% in 2012 and the U.S. Housing recovery was a major and surprising market theme.  The market is a forward looking mechanism and it began discounting the recovery well before economic data confirmed it.

The Value of StockTwits streams is that there are thousands of experienced eyes, evaluating changes in price patterns, sentiment and fundamentals and pointing them out. Many noticed the strength in the builders in January offering so much goodness to the objective observer.

5. The Rise of the Financials

When 2012 started, Bank of America ($BAC) was a $5 stock and few expected that financials would turn into the best performing sector of the year. $BAC doubled in 2012. The biggest loser in the Dow in 2011 became the biggest winner in 2012. Warren Buffett wasn’t the only optimist:

6. Arena Pharmaceuticals Goes Parabolic on Obesity Drug Approval

In late June, US health regulators approved the first new weight loss drug in 13 years when they gave $ARNA’s Belviq the all clear. Before the approval, social momentum on StockTwits had already exploded increasing by over 4000% from mid March to mid June ahead of the stock price:

The most interesting aspect of $ARNA on StockTwits was the pattern of social momentum before the approval and subsequent price spike. This chart, provided by our friends at Lucky Sort, shows an initial spike in April and then huge spike in May:

StockTwits Message volume tagged $ARNA from Feb-May 2012

7. 3D Printing Stocks Catch Fire

3D printing stocks captured investors’ imaginations this year and StockTwits saw a 40 fold increase in average message volume for the 2 big stocks in this industry, 3D Systems ($DDD) and Stratasys ($SSYS). That is social momentum!

$DDD and $SSYS more than doubled in share price and the stream was on this emerging trend early on.

3D Systems also reminded us that insider selling might mean next to nothing, at least in short-term perspective

8. Knight Capital Group and the Rogue Algorithm

Knight Capital Group ($KCG) almost went out of business in 2012 after its machines went wild on August 1st and caused a flash crash in more than 150 stocks. Many experienced traders warned against trying to “catch the falling knife” in $KCG and were right. Those who bought on Friday, August 1st, became 50% poorer after the weekend.

9. Herbalife Gets Ackman’d

On the week of December 17th, $HLF saw an over 1000% increase in StockTwits message volume after Bill Ackman gave a detailed and scathing bearish argument in a Sohn Conference special presentation.

@kiddynamiteblog boiled it down in one message:

Meanwhile, @CapitalObserver provided wise council under such circumstances:

Finally, @El_Christos details the collatoral damage as apparent proxy Nu Skin ($NUS) tanked along with $HLF:

From our perch, the $HLF story was especially significant seeing a guy like Ackman employ social media tools to amplify and spread his message. Making his slideshow available to embed and launching a web site allowed the public to link to these materials and facilitate discussion and debate on a massive scale and we watched this play out in real time on StockTwits.

10. Gun Stocks

It is the only industry group that could rally and crash for the very same reason – fears of stricter firearms’ regulation. This is exactly what happened in 2012. Gun sales skyrocketed in the first 3 quarters of the year, pushing shares of Sturm Ruger ($RGR) and  Smith & Wesson ($SWHC) to all-time highs. Then, the horrific tragedy in Newtown, CT turned market sentiment 180 degrees.

11. The Vringo Patent Suit

In October, there was huge interest associated with a story that the mainstream press mostly ignored. Vringo ($VRNG) is a small cap ring tone company possessing patents originally owned by the old search company Lycos.

$VRNG sued $GOOG for search related patent infringement and as the suit went to trial in October, we had days on StockTwits in which the $VRNG ticker challenged $AAPL for dominance on the StockTwits Technology Sector Social Heat Map.

Speculators parsed every iota of data and analysis coming out of the trial and while $VRNG won the case the stock price has still languished.