Life is so unfair. Consider the humble newt — which, in case you're wondering, is an aquatic amphibian of the family Salamandridae. He has had such a bad press over the years. When PG Wodehouse, for example, was looking for a way of signaling that Bertie Wooster's chum Gussie Fink-Nottle was a feeble halfwit, he made him . . . a newt fancier.
Worst of all, though, is the slur that newts supposedly have short attention spans. The truth is that, compared to technology stock "analysts," Salamandridae have the intellectual stamina of Einstein. Witness, for example, the current stock market fluttering about Twitter's financial results. Readers with long memories will recall the frenzy about Twitter when it launched itself on the stock markets last November. The shares opened at $26 and closed at $44.90, giving the company a valuation of around $31 billion on the day. Egged on by those analysts, everyone wanted a slice of the Twitter action — despite the fact that no one had any real idea how the company might eventually make money.
Since then the shares have steadily declined in value, but last Wednesday saw an acceleration in the downward slide: The shares dropped 12.6 percent after Twitter announced that it had had another loss-making quarter, even though the reported losses were less than some analysts had predicted. The thing that spooked the market seemed to be that the growth in Twitter users — and their use of the service — seemed to be slowing down. "We believe," said one investment analyst, "(that) millions of consumers have sampled Twitter only to find a complex product with marginal relevance and value — a view we realize stands in sharp contrast to the fanatical loyalty the company enjoys among its core users."