All That For 23 Cents? Facebook IPO Starts Off Strong, Sputters Late On First Trading Day

By David Cohen 

$0.23: That was the share-price gain for perhaps the most-hyped initial public offering in history, as Facebook shares began trading a half-hour late, at 11:30 a.m. ET, at $42.05 apiece, well above the set opening price of $38, but pretty much went downhill from there.

The $42.05 opening price was the stock’s high point, and after a quick drop to $38 around noon ET, Facebook shares topped the $41 a few times in the early afternoon. However, after 2 p.m. ET, the direction was down, down, down, and the stock finished the trading day at $38.23, up 0.61 percent.

While the title of most-hyped IPO is unofficial and open for debate, Facebook officially set a volume record, finishing the trading day with 564,784,996 shares traded, blowing away the previous record of 458 million set by former Facebook advertiser General Motors.

Only 12 percent of the 301 readers who voted in our closing-price poll pegged the proper price range, choosing $38.01 to $41. The most popular selection was more than $46, picked by 61 percent of respondents.

Visitors to were disappointed, as well, as 2,261 Twitter users submitted predictions averaging $54, which the stock did not even remotely approach. Only 26 people predicted $38 (prices were only accepted in whole dollars).

Readers: Did Facebook’s first day of trading live up to its hype? Were you surprised by the results?

Chart courtesy of Yahoo.