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Facebook jumps then slumps in first few minutes day's trade

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Facebook's shares debuted on the Nasdaq today at $42 and immediately skidded downwards to the original IPO price of $38.

The social network set its IPO price last night at $38, valuing it at $104bn. However, through the mysteries of IPOing, it actually opened at $42, shortly after 11am Eastern Time. That price values the company at more than GM or Boeing, as The Telegraph among others reported.

This price was maintained for at least minutes before it started to slip down to around the $38 mark, troughing for a while then beginning what appears to be a bit of a bumpy ride back upwards.

At time of writing it was trading at $40.70. Which charitably could be described as around the middle of its price range.

Of course, it’s early days yet and there’s still time for it to stage a massive recovery and meet some of the wilder expectations for its first day closing price. One Twitter-based panel put the firm’s first day closing price at $58.

And it's not as if investors have only just heard the first contrary voices claiming that Facebook might not be a guaranteed money printing machine after all. The IPO was tarnished by the revelation earlier this week that GM had pulled some advertising cash from the firm,sparking debate about the efficacy of the firm’s advertising platform.

Going more to the jugular, a German data protection exec told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that the $38 price was based on practices that breach Europe’s data privacy rules, and that the firm’s business model would implode if those rules were properly enforced.

One group who will be conflicted about Zuckerberg’s net worth will be the class action group which has just filed a $15bn suit over Facebook’s user tracking.

the class action suit claims the firm tracked users even after they logged out of their account. The suit alleges the firm breached the US’s wiretapping legislation. The lawyers behind the suit are looking to add non-US users to the class.

While the plaintiffs are obviously unhappy about the way Facebook does business, its ability to carry on doing business and stoke up its stock price will have some bearing on whether it ultimately decides it’s easier to just pay them to go away.

A Facebook spokesman told Bloomberg in an email that it would “fight it vigorously”. Presumably when the legal affairs department gets back from the Santa Clara Ferrari dealership.

Meanwhile, in other economic news, no-one has fixed the Euro crisis, leaving a number of European countries facing economic cataclysm, and sending non-US stock markets remorselessly downwards.®

Bootnote

Facebook closed the day at $38.23. While some would say this suggests the IPO price was spot on, most market types would not view this as a spectacular debut. Not least because the price was seen as being propped up by the underwriters. Longer term, it's worth remembering that today's debut only covered a fraction of the company.

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