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Facebook pop turns to flop Add to ...

With Facebook Inc. shares trading just a dime above the initial public offering price of $38 (U.S.) just 20 minutes after their debut trade, Facebook enthusiasts are presented with a dare: If you couldn't get in on the IPO price like so many well-heeled, well-connected investors did, do you dare to buy now?

Even forecasters who turned up their noses at Facebook during the IPO process -- putting the stock down for its incredibly high valuation and the fact that insiders were selling their shares as quickly as they could -- believed that there would be enough hype behind the stock to give it an early pop.

That pop has turned into a fizzle, though. Some reports suggest that the stock hit a high of $45 -- but only for a millisecond. They've been heading down ever since and are now flirting with the IPO price.

While some observers might applaud such a move because is suggests that the shares were priced correctly, investors who scrambled to get in at the start of trading might now be nursing losses of as much as 15 per cent. Besides, getting pricing right is highly subjective, especially when you're talking about a stock priced at 107-times trailing earnings.

This seems to have little to do with correct pricing and more to do with market skepticism.

Meanwhile, it is interesting to see the reaction from other social media stocks that began trading relatively recently. Groupon is down 5.6 per cent and LinkedIn is down 1.1 per cent. And look at this: Zynga fell 14.4 per cent before the shares were halted.

Add it up, and this isn't a great start for Facebook -- and it doesn't look good for its peers, either.

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