Facebook Shareholders Rejoice As The Stocks Jump 12%

| November 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

Is the storm over for Facebook share holders? About 800 million Facebook shares were newly available to trade on Wednesday, a phenomenon that typically sends a company’s stock lower. But Facebook bucked the trend with a 12% gain.

Wednesday marked the first day that early employees and investors were able to sell about 773 million shares. This was supposed to say alot about where Facebook stocks were heading. If a bunch of Facebook workers decided to dump stocks, then that would spell doom for the company. Well instead of a mass dumping, another 31 million restricted stock units owned by employees who joined the company prior to 2011 were also newly eligible to trade.

The prospect of so many shares potentially flooding the market tends to send a company’s stock lower.But Facebook shares surged on heavy volume: 170 million shares had changed hands by mid-afternoon.

Like many initial public offerings, Facebook’s May 18 debut included a “lockup” agreement that restricts some shareholders from selling for a certain period.

Lockups are designed to prevent the market from being swamped with too many of a company’s shares immediately after an IPO. Keeping the amount of shares scarce can help boost a stock’s price. But before Wednesday’s runup, Facebook shares had lost nearly half their value since they debuted at $38.

But one analyst said Facebook may finally be a good buy.

“I’ve had numerous clients who are looking to go long Facebook, and the price is a good entry point,” said Topeka Capital Markets analyst Victor Anthony. “And now this negative [the lockup expiration] is out of the way.”

Anthony said it seems that investors are also less concerned about Facebook’s ability to make money off of mobile users. The company reported strong mobile advertising revenue growth in its third-quarter earnings release last month.

“Amidst all the hyperbole, you do have whats a very healthy business,” Anthony said.

Separately, Facebook announced a new social jobs search app Wednesday, a move that could put Facebook in more direct competition with LinkedIn  and Monster Worldwide and potentially give Facebook another lucrative source of revenue.

Facebook shares did fall on its previous, smaller lockup expirations. The company employs a somewhat unusual staggered system, with a total of five lockups. Wednesday is the third expiration in the series, and marks the biggest potential stock dump by far. Lets see if Mark and the FB family can pull the stocks fully out the storm.

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