Facebook stock trading open - long and short

Facebook is one of the largest websites in the world, with more than 500 million monthly users. The site was started in 2004 by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg when he was an undergraduate student at Harvard.

Facebook became a publicly traded company

on May 18, 2012, listed under the ticker FB on the NASDAQ. Its IPO was priced at $38 per share.

Since September 2006, anyone over the age of 13 with a valid e-mail address can join Facebook. Users can add "friends" and send them messages, post announcements, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves.

Daily analysis

Investment firm Digital Sky Technologies has started its buyback of up to $100 million in employee common stock. It's buying it at a $6.5 billion valuation. Read this article by Caroline McCarthy on CNET News.

Facebook, venture capital, investors, Digital Sky Technologies, stock trading, social networking, rumors

Investment firm Digital Sky Technologies has started its buyback of up to $100 million in employee common stock. It's buying it at a $6.5 billion valuation. Read this article by Caroline McCarthy on CNET News.

Facebook shares climbed as high as $45 on May 18, when the shares ended the day with a price-earnings ratio of 83.1, making the Menlo Park , California-based company more expensive than 99 percent of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index stocks.

The Redmond, WA.-based company invested $240 million in Facebook in 2007 for a 1.6 percent stake in the social network. Back then it wasn't a huge amount, but was a major boost for Facebook to have a then-dominant player on its roster. Soon after, Bing Search and Bing Maps were brought to the social network to display search results and other imagery for pages and businesses.

Facebook shares start trading in largest ever tech IPO

Mark Zuckerberg's personal wealth is now estimated at $19.1 billion (L12 billion), making him the 29th richest person in the world, and Facebook is valued as a bigger company than such grand old names as McDonald's and Disney. Zuckerberg celebrated the flotation by posting "Mark Zuckerberg listed a company on Nasdaq" on his timeline -- all thanks to a clever hack by one of his developers.

Full public trading of Facebook shares was due to begin at 11am EST on 18 May, but the sheer number of retail investors wanting to buy Facebook shares overwhelmed the Nasdaq's servers and meant that the launch was pushed back by half an hour. The price of shares had already jumped up to roughly $42 (L27), but the whirlwind of hype around the flotation meant estimates of what the shares would launch at were varying wildly (and for one brief 15-second period before the Nasdaq opened shares were valued at $50,000 each, a price that would have left Facebook's value larger than the earth's GDP). $4.5 billion (L2.8 billion) worth of Facebook shares were bought and sold in the first five minutes of trading alone.

Facebook remains in the firm grasp of Mark Zuckerberg, too, as he maintains control of 54 percent of the site's voting shares regardless of the float.

Much has been made of the unique position in history that Facebook occupies, with more than 850 million users voluntarily entrusting the site with their intimate personal data. Word-of-mouth endorsement is the thing advertisers want more than anything else, and investors are betting that Zuckerberg will find a way to turn that inter-personal trust into something with a definable price.

New owners of Facebook stock (FB) who want to sell their Facebook shares must call their traders first. The traders will call "market makers" at the Nasdaq stock market, where Facebook's shares will be listed.

Facebook's initial public offering of stock is shaping up to be one of the largest ever. The world's definitive online social network is raising at least $16 billion, a big windfall for a company that began eight years ago with no way to make money.

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