Today (Wednesday) marked the end of a 40-day quiet period for dozens of analysts who work for the 33 underwriters of the Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) initial public offering. That means these analysts now have released their first opinions and outlooks for shares of the social networking behemoth.
In an effort not to artificially inflate the stock price of a "hot" IPO, major Wall Street firms are prohibited for the first 40 days following a stock's debut from issuing analyst reports on stocks they underwrite. Smaller banks that are part of such an offering usually follow suit.
The universal opinion prior to Wednesday's Facebook releases was that the majority of analysts would "like" FB shares, and predict a 20% rally or more could be expected over the next 12-month period.
That was mainly the case among its lead underwriters, although some were bearish, bringing the average price target down. Price targets for analysts who provided them Wednesday ranged from $25 to $45, with the average $37.71.
But investors should consider the source before acting on the first analyst opinion they see. Some may be more interested in getting attention than guiding investors in the right direction.
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