Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Facebook closes below $30 a share, as options trading begins

As lawsuits and potential investigations swirl, Facebook stock had dropped another 9 percent in late Tuesday morning (PDT) trading, falling - for the first time - below $30 per share.

Facebook's IPO offer price was $38 per share, and on May 18, the stock opened to the public at $42 per share. Since then, the stock price has gone in a pretty consistent direction: down.

At the same time, revelations about information that underwriters gave to large investors during Facebook's "road show" has emerged. That information, pertaining to a weakening Q2 at the company, was not publicized and thus was not given to the one percent.

Meanwhile, rumors about a possible Facebook smartphone has re-emerged. That rumor has had starts and stops for years, but some analysts said that they would see a Facebook phone as a bad sign, at least for investors.

Walter Zimmermann, senior technical analyst at United-ICAP, pointed to possible reasons behind the Facebook IPO's seeming failure. As evidenced by the number of shares offered, and the hype surrounding it, he called it "a mania of historic proportions."

"This was an IPO that was going to save California and uplift the western world. It was so overhyped and overvalued that it could only fall." He added that since Facebook sold so many shares, 96 million, it didn't leave enough buyer interest on the table. "Who is left to buy?" he said.

Tuesday was also the company's debut on the options market. Facebook options were the second-most actively traded individual name on Tuesday, behind only Apple. By noon EDT, about 162,000 Facebook options had traded.

The trading was all over the place, with some betting on the company's stock increasing to as much as $65 a share by January 2014, while others were betting on the stock sinking to $16 a share by December of this year. The largest option trades, however, expected more Facebook downside this summer, with an average $25 share price by mid-July.

Facebook finished the day down more than $3.00 a share, at $28.84.

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