Facebook finally began trading this morning on the NASDAQ exchange, after some technical glitches prevented the social network from testing its $104-billion market cap and $38 IPO price at 11 a.m. Wall Street Time, as anticipated. The party had to wait until 11:30.
The basic story has two parts. First, there was no big first-day pop — at least not yet, and with just a few hours of trading left on the East Coast, there's every chance that sell orders will be executed late in the day that will push Facebook down to near its IPO price. It won't fall below $38 because Morgan Stanley and the syndicate of investment banks that ran the IPO will provide support at that level.
The stock opened at $42.50, for a reasonable if unspectacular pop, around 13 percent. By contrast, LinkedIn popped 109 percent when it began trading in May of 2011. That performance prompted some market observers to get very, very angry.
Second...there was no big first-day pop. This tells us two things: that Facebook's bankers weren't intentionally underpricing the stock to supply a big first-day payout to favored institutional clients; and that Facebook doesn't care about its Wall Street performance. In a brief speech before the company officially became public, CEO Mark Zuckberg said that it's not Facebook's mission to be a public company.
Anyway, that's the somewhat anticlimactic tale of Facebook Day, so far. This was a bigger, badder IPO than many had initially expected, with both the number of shares sold and the IPO price increasing over the past week. The hype was of course massive. But we can now observe Facebook's value change on an almost daily basis. And if over the next few months the stock remains flat or falls, then we can start to worry, if that's something you want to, you know, worry about.