By late afternoon, Facebook’s stock was at $34.26, down 10.4 percent from Friday’s closing price of $38.23. The company lost nearly $10 billion of its market value, and is now worth around $96 billion, about $2 billion below Amazon.com Inc.
“There must have been some sober second thoughts about this,” said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research Group who was first to come out with a “Sell” rating on Facebook’s stock on Friday.
It’s not that he thinks the world’s largest online social network is a bad investment. But at $38 per share, it’s just too expensive considering the risks associated with Facebook’s brief history and unproven advertising model, he says. His fair price, or “target price,” is $30.
Initial public offerings are a delicate game of supply and demand. The investment banks orchestrating the transaction, the deal’s underwriters, work with the company to decide how much stock to sell and at what price.
In Facebook’s case, says Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities, the “underwriters gave FB poor advice, and allowed them to sell too much stock, then didn’t properly sell the deal.”
Investors and technology industry watchers are closely tracking the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company’s shares. Facebook’s initial public stock offering was one of the most anticipated ever, and now serves as a bellwether for other social media companies.
To be fair, Facebook’s market debut Friday suffered some hiccups. Trading on the Nasdaq was delayed for a half hour due to issues with traders’ orders.