Shares of the social networking company Facebook began trading on the NASDAQ stock market under the ticker symbol FB today. The company didn't begin trading until 11:30 a.m. EDT, slightly later than the proposed starting time of 11 a.m., but once it did, the stock leaped from its opening price of $38 per share up to a price of $42 in the first minute of trading. Trading is expected to be especially volatile today — the company could see another 100% increase in the next few hours, or it could see the price fall back below $38.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on hand to ring the market's opening bell this morning, an event that's become something of a tradition when large companies go public for the first time. When Martha Stewart Omnimedia went public in 1999, Stewart herself was on hand to officially start the day of trading.
The Facebook initial public offering (IPO) technically happened yesterday. But like most big-name IPOs, only large investors were able to get in on the action at the price of $38 per share.
Traditionally, largely hyped companies experience strong increases in value on their opening day of trading before settling in to a more stable value. Shares of Google jumped from $85 to $100.34 on the first day of public trading, and social networking site LinkedIn soared from $45 to $121 on day one before settling down to a $94.25 closing price for the day, after briefly surpassing $121 a share. But not all internet IPOs met the same warm reception: Shares of social gaming company Zynga were priced at $10 for their first day of trading in December 2011, but fell to $9.50 by the closing bell.
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