It seems you need a strong stomach to own shares of Twitter — or, at least, a bottle of an antacid on hand.
The turbulent technology stock rallied 13 percent at one point Wednesday on takeover chatter after hovering near record lows earlier in the day. Is there an end in sight — and if so, will it land on the rocks?
There doesn't seem to be a consensus bottom on Wall Street, where most analysts rank the stock as a "hold," according to surveys by The Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance. With Google and Facebook still the dominant leaders in making money off their clicks, the future of Twitter's comeback plan is unclear, said analysts Andrew Bruckner and Mark Mahaney of RBC Capital Markets, which has a "sector perform" rating on the stock.
Some investors seemed to think that media giant News Corp. could find use for the social media company, sending shares soaring Wednesday, but CNBC was unable to confirm any pending deal between the two. Twitter's users, meanwhile, are still reeling from an hourslong outage that left much of the world tweet-less on Tuesday — the latest salient upset as user growth decelerates and engagement appears to decline on the platform.
Twitter's monthly active user growth decelerated to 11 percent in the third quarter of 2015, with measurement firm comScore estimating deteriorating engagement as well. Tack on a part-time CEO and a recent 8 percent job force reduction, and analysts have "great grist for a sell call," Bruckner and Mahaney wrote in a Jan. 10 earnings preview.
But even by monetizing its customers at a fraction of competitors Facebook and Google, Twitter has managed to hang on to "a unique value proposition" and "strategic significance," keeping it in many portfolios despite declining more than 20 percent year to date. But what does that mean for white-knuckled onlookers?
Robert Peck, managing director and Internet equity analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, upgraded the stock ahead of what he sees as upcoming catalysts, he told CNBC's "Squawk Box" last week.
Peck cited changes like tweets set to appear in Google search, expansions in live video and options for logged-out users as he spoke on Jan. 11, when the shares had declined almost 50 percent over a one-year period.
"As that starts to grow and turn around, you can now start to change the whole meme of the story as going more towards a sort-of billions platform user system," Peck said. "What you need now for this stock to work, though, is you need to show a proof point here. You need to show that the users can start to inflect, and grow again."
But there's still three weeks until investors will get a clearer picture of the internal state of Twitter, with quarterly earnings slated for Feb. 10. And as RBC notes, Twitter share prices have declined in the three-day period after earnings announcements six of the past eight quarters.
Shares of Twitter closed more than 4 percent higher Wednesday.
Disclosure: An affiliate of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey received compensation from Twitter for services other than investment banking in the past year.