May 18, 2012

Facebook Stock Could See Ups and Downs during First Days of Trading, Analysts Say


Facebook did not appear to have the extraordinary IPO that some investors had hoped for on its first day of trading – and dropped before a mid-day rebound on the Nasdaq. There are predictions the stock could see ups and downs in coming days, as well.

On Friday, there was a promising start as Facebook went up 13 percent to $43, according to The Associated Press. Some 100 million shares were traded in the first few minutes and more than 200 million shares were traded in just the first hour, according to The Wall Street Journal. Then, 300 million shares were traded within the first two hours.

But soon shares were trading for just above the IPO price of $38. Then, the price settled and edged up in the early afternoon. The Journal reports that shares increased after underwriters “stepped in to support the price.”

At 1:45 EST, Facebook was trading at $41.30, which is an 8.5 percent increase from the opening. The value of stock in mid-afternoon gave Facebook a valuation of about $113 billion.

Chris Brown, manager of Pax World Balanced mutual fund, said he wasn’t surprised by what happened with Facebook trading on Friday.

"Going into the IPO, there has been a lot of skepticism from investors, in particular institutional investors, questioning anything from whether the price of the stock is fair, to whether Facebook can successfully monetize and sell ads,'' Brown told USA Today. "You're going to see obviously an extreme amount of volatility over the next week as people evaluate the stock.”

Last-minute orders for the stock ended up delaying the trading from the planned 11 a.m. EST start, according to news reports. And some traders complained there was poor communications about their orders. Also, technical delays may have led to “panicked selling,” according to a report from The New York Times.

The AP reported, too, that “skeptics” are concerned there could be “signs of a slowdown and Facebook's ability to grow in the mobile space when it was created with desktop computers in mind.” In addition, a report from TechZone360 says there are reports of advertisers bailing out, such as GM.  Facebook's insiders are looking to sell their stock quickly, raising some other concerns.

Oliver Pursche, president of Gary Goldberg Financial Services, told the BBC, "We're telling our investors to hold off Number one, we don't know what the guts and the balance sheet of the company looks like yet so that's a big red flag for us. We want to understand the business before we tell people to invest.”

Facebook, which is considered the top social media company, globally, has some 900 million users. In 2011, it earned $1 billion, compared to $606 million in 2010. The company’s valuation is the third-highest ever for an IPO, according to Dealogic. In the IPO, Facebook raised $16 billion, according to news reports.




Edited by Carrie Schmelkin



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