Individual investors were left guessing for more than two hours on Friday about whether their buy and sell orders for newly issued Facebook shares had been actually executed.
The Nasdaq Stock Market, where Facebook is listed, had problems sending electronic messages back to the brokerages that handle orders from individual, or “retail,” investors, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Because the electronic acknowledgements didn’t come back from the exchange, the brokers were unable to tell their clients that trades had been executed. Such acknowledgements usually occur almost instantaneously.
"Nasdaq’s delay in passing back executions is causing a lot of heartburn on the Street," said one source. "We had to tell clients we didn’t get the print back," said another.
Facebook Inc shares fizzled on their first day of trade on the Nasdaq, erasing early gains of as much as 18 percent to trade close to their initial public offering price.
The stock opened 11 percent higher and rose to $45 before rapidly heading south in frenzied trade, touching its initial public offering price of $38. The No. 1 online social network raised as much as $18.4 billion in one of the biggest initial public offerings in U.S. history.
After a delay in the opening print that drove up anxiety levels among traders and onlookers outside the Nasdaq, the company’s closely watched stock began trading at $42.05, compared with an IPO price of $38.
To rapturous applause from employees, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg — flanked by Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Nasdaq Chief Executive Robert Greifeld — rang the bell to kick off trading at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters at 6:30 a.m. Pacific time.
The 28-year-old billionaire founder hugged and high-fived Sandberg and other employees in celebration after he pressed the remote button.
Facebook filed for its hotly anticipated initial public offering on Wednesday, setting the stage for Silicon Valley’s largest-ever IPO.
The world’s largest social network, a dorm room project for Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg that exploded in popularity and vaulted to Silicon Valley’s top tier within 8 years , submitted preliminary IPO documents to the Securities Exchange Commission after weeks of frenzied speculation.
Read more: Facebook files for mega-IPO