Facebook IPO: Experts Caution 'Buyer Beware'

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Friday is an historic day on Wall Street, the first day of trading shares of Facebook. It's one of the biggest initial public offerings ever, bringing Facebook's value to a whopping $104 billion.

In just eight years, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has gone from college nerd to a billionaire, with a new networth estimated to be $20 billion after his company's stock starts trading publicly today at $38 a share.

People who have bought the stock expect to become rich too. But buyer beware: initial public offerings of tech stocks don't always do well.

At a Silicon Valley night spot, the beer was flowing for friends of investor Ander Vazquez, who bought Facebook shares about a year ago in pre-market selling.  But he wasn't telling how many shares.

"I'd like to keep that confidential," he said. "But let's just say I'm buying pitchers (of beer) tonight. "

Unfortunately for most of the little guys, the Wall Street big boys have already snatched up the rest of the shares in this initial public offering. Some of them will try to sell their shares for a quick profit today -- but if you buy in at that point, you might be paying two or three times the opening price.

"I would wait for about a half hour for that just to at least settle just a tiny bit before doing so, and again, I wouldn't do it at all (buy shares), to be honest with you," Jeff Macke at Yahoo Finance advised.

There are concerns about Facebook, which is now valued at more than a hundred billion dollars. Just this week, General Motors stopped buying ads on Facebook, saying they weren't effective. And some Facebook insiders have been dumping a lot of their stock, suggesting they might not "like" its long-term potential.

There's also the cautionary tale of Pets.com in the 1990s, when 10 shares went for a thousand dollars. Today they're worth nothing. On the other hand, if you bought 10 shares of Apple ... for $220 in 1980, they'd be worth more than $44,000 today.

Market watchers aren't sure, long-term, which way Facebook shares will go.

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CBN News
Dale Hurd

Dale Hurd

CBN News Sr. Reporter

A CBN News veteran, Dale Hurd has reported extensively from Western Europe, as well as China, Russia, and Central and South America.  Since 9/11, Dale has reported in depth on various aspects of the global war on terror in the United States and Europe.  Follow Dale on Twitter @HurdontheWeb and "like" him at Facebook.com/DaleHurdNews.