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Since Facebook's (Nasdaq: FB) hugely hyped and highly anticipated initial public offering on May 18 at $38, shares have been sliced in half, hitting a low of $19.01 in trading today (Friday).
Now, chatter is swirling that CEO Mark Zuckerberg should step down and let a more experienced executive take the helm.
"There is a growing sense that Mark Zuckerberg, talented though he may be, is in over his hoodies as CEO of a multibillion-dollar public company," Sam Hamadeh, head of research firm PrivCo, told the Los Angeles Times. "While in many cases a company founder can, and does, grow into the job, things are happening so quickly that there is precious little time here for Zuckerberg to do that."
Fueling the sentiment is Facebook's steady descent since its calamitous IPO. On Thursday, as the first lockup period ended, which allowed early investors and venture capitalists to unburden their portfolio of battered shares, the stock hit a fresh low.
Facebook's shares closed Thursday at $19.87, a far cry from its debut price and peak of $45 a share.
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Facebook Earnings Report Gives Investors Zero Reasons to Stick Around
The first Facebook earnings report since the company went public was released today (Thursday), and the numbers came in right in line with lowered, underwhelming expectations.
Facebook met earnings per share estimates of 12 cents on revenue of $1.18 billion. Analysts had expected EPS of 12 cents on revenue of $1.16 billion.
Estimates had been slashed several times and many experts did not think Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) would miss these lowered estimates - especially after is horrible IPO already delivered a colossal disappointment.
But the fact that earnings forecasts were so low made the fact that the company beat them a non-event.
"These earnings are meh," one equities analyst told Business Insider.
Another problem with the earnings report: There were no real clues as to how Facebook was ever going to make real money.
Facebook has had a hard time turning users into profits as more people use Facebook via mobile, an area Facebook has yet to monetize - and a key issue investors want addressed in today's earnings call.
"Everything is moving toward mobile," Debra Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer, told USA Today. "Gaining revenue from mobile and improving that experience are two things that Facebook absolutely has to focus on in coming years."
Reports surfaced Thursday that Facebook hired a team of former Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) employees to completely redesign the Facebook iPhone app, which will no doubt include some of its new advertising plans. The aim is to generate more revenue from its growing mobile user base.
But it's still unclear whether or not Facebook can do that.
Why the Facebook Stock Price is Up
Over the past several days, the Facebook stock price has done a stark about-face.
In fact, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) shareholders just might get the pop in price they have been hoping for ever since the social media giant debuted May 18.
Worries that Facebook's shares were overvalued and concerns that the company would not be able to grow revenue fast enough had pummeled shares lower by as much as 32% from the May 18 IPO price of $38.
After a disastrous IPO and a dismal showing in the weeks that followed, shares of Facebook are finally showing real signs of life. The tide may be turning.
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Will the Facebook Stock Price Overcome This Latest Concern?
Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) and its struggling stock price have been in the spotlight since the company's IPO, but rarely for good news. This week started no differently.
Besides its poor stock performance, Facebook already has been blamed for halting this year's IPO market. There hasn't been an IPO since Facebook debuted on May 17.
Facebook also is taking heat for wreaking havoc on Nasdaq's reputation after technical glitches marred Facebook's debut. Nasdaq revealed last week that it will pay out $40 million in compensation damages to brokerages that lost money during the IPO fiasco.
Finally, many investors claim they were misinformed on Facebook stock's first-day potential, and have initiated a class action lawsuit against the underwriters.
Now the most recent bad news has cast even more doubts over whether or not Facebook can perform as well as investors expected.
Has Facebook's Growth Reached a Ceiling?Over the weekend The Wall Street Journal ran a report on Facebook's growth slowdown, especially in the United States.
Citing market research firm comScore Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR), the report indicated unique visitors to the Facebook Website in the United States increased just 5% in April from a year earlier.
That was the lowest U.S. user growth rate since comScore started tracking the data in 2008. It compared very poorly to the data from the past two years, down from 24% growth in April 2011 and 89% in April 2010.
The amount of time Facebook users spend per month on the site increased, but also at a slower rate than before. Facebook users' time-on-site was up 16% from a year earlier, compared to a 23% increase in 2011 and 57% in 2010, according to comScore.
"The assumption that Facebook can maintain the 100% growth it reported Q2 2011 is no more plausible than the 45% growth it reported [earlier this year," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald after the stock started trading in May. "Google couldn't. Apple couldn't. And both of them are real businesses."
It may be a matter of numbers limiting Facebook's growth rather than a changed perception or heightened dislike of the company. Facebook is estimated to have already captured 71% of the 221 million U.S. Internet users, leaving little room for U.S. growth.
That is troubling as the U.S. accounts for approximately 56% of Facebook's 2011 ad revenue of $3.1 billion, according to the company's regulatory filings.
Morningstar analyst Rick Summer stated that Facebook cannot expect to have the same post-IPO growth as Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG), due to the fact that Facebook already has a dominant market share of its industry and a very high number of Internet users.
Summer suggested that increased ad pricing could drive future growth.
"Facebook is already a dominant Web platform and they've got significant Internet penetration today," said Summer. "Ad pricing is clearly going to be where their growth is going to come from."
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Facebook IPO Fiasco to Cost Nasdaq $40 Million
The Facebook IPO mess has become a costly ordeal.
After market close Wednesday the Nasdaq OMX Group announced it will pay $40 million in compensation damages to brokerages that lost money because of the Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) IPO fiasco.
Facebook's epic debut on May 18 was marred by technical glitches at its home exchange, the Nasdaq. After a great deal of anticipation, a rock-star like roadshow, and repeated SEC filings and re-filings, shares were finally priced at $38 each.
But there were problems from the first trades went off around 11:30 a.m. EDT. Executions were late, allotments askew, and prices delayed. Investors who did manage to get shares were disappointed when Facebook stock barely finished above the IPO price on its first day of trading, closing at $38.27.
Many investors felt misled and cheated. Scores have joined class action law suits against Facebook, Nasdaq, and the 33 underwriters.
But Nasdaq's recompense is being called a public relations ploy and does little to help individual investors.
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Facebook Stock Price Hits Low – Can this New Strategy Help?
After hitting a new low of $25.75 on Tuesday, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) stock slid further Wednesday morning despite a nice rally for U.S. equities.
With the Dow up nearly 90 points right after the opening bell, Facebook shares edged down to $25.68 in early morning trading, reaching another new low. Shares now sit more than 30% below the IPO price of $38.
Weighing on Facebook Wednesday was news that the Nasdaq Omx Group (NDAQ) will tell brokers exactly how it will recompense investors for the myriad trading problems during the Facebook IPO frenzy. Problems at Nasdaq contributed to order issues that prompted several class action law suits.
But what drew more attention from investors was a comment by Ironfire Capital founder Eric Jackson. The analyst appeared on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" program Monday and said that Facebook will lose its dominance as a social network in less than 10 years.
Jackson highlighted Facebook's inability to make leeway in the thriving and prominent mobile arena, as well as the stock's steady tumble since the company's epic IPO.
The comments have triggered suspicions that Facebook will suffer the same fate as MySpace, once the dominant force in the social networking circle, and Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), once a leader in Internet search.
"In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared," Jackson said. "Yahoo is still making money, it's still profitable, still has 13,000 employees working for it, but it's 10% of the value that it was at the height of 2000. For all intents and purposes, it's disappeared."
Now Facebook has a new strategy to increase its reach - and its profits - but it's one that will likely raise some eyebrows.
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