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The Cybersecurity Play That Doubled Once – Will Double Again

Not long ago, a relative of mine was the victim of identity theft. And I have to tell you that I really felt for the entire family.

The thief ran up nearly $20,000 in charges, opened new accounts and tried to open others.

And I can tell you that the frustrations over the losses (most of which ended up being covered) were dwarfed by the helplessness that came whenever new charges showed up – and the worry that was spawned by never finding out how the whole mess started.

As we watch the headlines about data breaches and cybercrime – and watch as the violations move closer and closer to home – those worries only escalate.

  • Facebook Stock

  • Facebook Stock Price: Is Mark Zuckerberg Losing Sleep Over This? Everyone's eyes are on the falling Facebook stock price, but CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg remains silent on the issue.

    Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) stock is down about 17% from its $38 IPO price. But Zuckerberg has not commented publicly or issued a company statement, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    Silicon Valley rumors tell us that Facebook employees have been told to concentrate on work and not comment on the IPO fiasco.

    Meanwhile, Nasdaq criticism continues and lawsuits pile up as investors who are left with more FB shares than they wanted - worth less than they bargained - feel cheated.

    And Wall Street is left to bet on when or if FB stock will rebound.

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  • Five Ways to Avoid the Next Facebook IPO Fiasco On the heels of the Facebook IPO fiasco, many investors are wondering how they can find the next best thing and avoid getting "facebooked" in the process.

    Tall order? Not really.

    First, look for companies with ideas that can be applied across a wide variety of industries.

    If I had said this five years ago, you'd be looking for Internet- related startups or companies that can do "it" better, faster or cheaper.

    Going forward however, I think the true innovation will be exponential progress that's made linking living systems with their digital counterparts. Everything from synthetic biology to computational bioinformatics will grow a lot more rapidly than the broader markets.

    So will key markets related to healing human illness, solving hunger and figuring out how to deliver potable water to broad swathes of the planet.

    No doubt there will be tremendous ethical challenges along the way, but I believe we will see the line blur between what's needed to live and how we actually live our lives.

    Though it's hard to imagine given the state of the world at the moment, I believe a fair number of the best up- and- coming investments will be outside the traditional first- tier markets of the United States, Europe and Japan.

    In fact, I'd bet on it.

    Second, don't confuse the ability to organize or share information with the ability to generate revenue

    One might lead to the other but they are not the same thing.

    The way I see it, Facebook is a classic example of everything you don't want in a business. It is 900 million users who spend an average of $1.32 a year. Compare that to Amazon.com, which clocks in at a much more valuable and consistent $36.52 per person.

    Call me crazy, but I don't think Facebook stock will see the bottom for a while. As I wrote last Friday, at best Facebook is worth $7.50 a share.

    Revenue is slowing. Facebook doesn't dominate the mobile markets that are becoming the preferred consumer channel for tens of millions of people. And, in what is perhaps the death knell, startups are already cannibalizing Facebook's user base.

    The ability to "like" somebody is really no different than signing their yearbook in high school --only you're using a computer and the Internet to do it.

    Third, hunt for fringe thinkers working in their garages.

    It's not enough to think differently. The next big things will come from those thinkers operating on the fringes of what the rest of us consider normal.

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  • Facebook Stock is Worth $7.50 a Share at Best Duh on you if you bought the Facebook IPO.


    Double duh if you're thinking of buying Facebook stock now that it's fallen to $32 a share and lost $17.16 billion off its initial $104 billion valuation.

    The company is only worth about $7.50 a share. And, no. That's not a typo. There is no missing zero or a placeholder.

    That's reality. What is ludicrous is that Morgan Stanley and Facebook executives thought the company merited a $104 billion valuation at 100 times earnings.

    As my good friend Barry Ritholtz pointed out recently, both Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) debuted at about 15 times earnings. Today they trade at 13.6 and 18.2 times earnings and 3.75 and 4.9 times sales respectively.

    As I type, Facebook's market cap is $86.84 billion and its price to sales is ridiculously high at 21.01. I think that's way out of line.

    So what should the numbers be?

    Try this on for size. If we use Google's price to sales ratio of 4.9 (and I am being generous here for discussion purposes), that equals a total market cap of $20.24 billion or 76.68% lower than where it's trading today.

    With 2.74 billion shares outstanding, that's equal to only $7.39-$7.50 per share.

    No doubt I'll get the evil eye from the Facebook faithful and Morgan Stanley for saying this, but think about it.

    Revenue is already slowing and the company does not and cannot possibly dominate the mobile markets that are becoming the preferred channel for millions of people.

    Worse, startups are already cannibalizing Facebook's user base as concerns over privacy and who likes who mount.

    Companies like General Motors (NYSE: GM) are deciding not to renew their advertising. This is going to hit Facebook to the tune of $10 million a year for the loss of GM alone.

    More will undoubtedly head out the door for the same reason, since Facebook friends don't necessarily translate into revenue.

    Corporate buyers are beginning to figure out that advertising on Facebook is simply not cost effective versus other media alternatives - gasp - including good old fashioned television and radio advertising, billboards and tradeshows.

    Facebook Stock: At the Mercy of the Merely Curious

    Many people think this isn't a big deal. They couldn't be more wrong.

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  • Is Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) a Replay of the AOL/Time Warner Deal? I hope you didn't buy shares of Facebook (Nasdaq: FB). The valuation was always too aggressive.

    And increasing both the price and amount of Facebook stock at the last moment ensured that both underwriters and retail investors ended up with far more shares than they bargained for.

    In fact, the Facebook fiasco reminds me of another deal that marked the peak of the dot-com boom.

    No, not the ineffable and rather sweet Pets.com- their IPO was far too small a deal to have genuine market significance.

    Instead I'm talking about the AOL and Time Warner merger announced on January 10, 2000.

    Like Facebook, the deal was sold as a big success. It was only later that it quickly became clear that AOL had sold itself at the absolute peak of the market.

    From there on out it was all downhill as the storied merger practically top-ticked the market.

    Before Facebook There Was AOL

    AOL had built up a nice business from "dial-up" Internet access, but it was already obvious by January 2000 that the arrival of broadband Internet would make for a difficult transition.

    As such, AOL's market capitalization of around $200 billion was purely the result of the frothy market of 1999.

    Nevertheless, that rich valuation enabled AOL to become the senior partner in an acquisition of the Time Warner media conglomerate, getting 55% of the merged company in a deal valued at $350 billion. It was the largest merger in U.S. history.

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  • Facebook Stock Price Drama Heats up with Lawsuit (Nasdaq: FB) Investors are not taking lightly the lackluster performance of the Facebook stock price (Nasdaq: FB).

    On Tuesday the finger pointing blame game began, followed today (Wednesday) by lawsuits.

    Investors who claim they were misled in the purchase of the social network firm's stock filed a lawsuit against underwriters Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM) and the other underwriters, some 33 in total.

    According to a complaint filed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court, the investors, who are members of a proposed class action lawsuit, claim they have lost more than $2.5 billion since Facebook's debut last week.

    Morgan Stanley has been accused of mismanaging the offering by either signing off on a price that was too high, or agreeing to sell too many shares.

    Facebook went public May 18 amid much hype and fanfare at $38 a share, the high end of the increased price range.

    Several investors are frustrated that they got more shares than they were expecting in the IPO. They in turn dumped those shares when Facebook began trading Friday, pressuring the stock's price down and taxing the Nasdaq's overburdened platform. This resulted in a myriad of problems including late execution reports, communication problems, and delayed quotes.

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  • Facebook Stock Price: Time to Play the Blame Game It's the third trading day for Facebook stock, and the finger pointing over what went wrong has begun.

    Facebook (Nasdaq: FB), its underwriters, and the Nasdaq are all red-faced after the lackluster debut of the largest-ever tech offering.

    The hyped-up Facebook IPO was finally priced at $38 last Thursday, raising $16 billion. Shares opened Friday around $42 amid technical difficulties at the Nasdaq, and ended the day just a few cents above the offering price.

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  • The Time to Buy Facebook Stock Facebook stock got off to a rocky start Friday, with Nasdaq messing up order confirms and Morgan Stanley propping up the share price. Now on day two, the stock price has slumped more than 10% already in morning trading. Money Morning Capital Waves Strategist Shah Gilani joined Fox Business' "Varney & Co." program to discuss why the stock price is falling - and could keep going. Gilani explains to investors what they should consider before they buy into Facebook stock.



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  • Why Facebook Stock is doing a Faceplant Forget all the hype.

    And you can even forget that I told you Facebook was a hyped-up offering, and that I would sell my shares if I was an insider, and that I definitely wouldn't buy the IPO on its first trading day.

    Did you listen to me?

    If you didn't, and you own Facebook stock (Nasdaq: FB), here's what you have to worry about.

    The Facebook Stock Concerns



    First, did you get your confirmation? Probably by now you did.

    But the problems that NASDAQ OMX Group had sending out electronic trade confirmations in the heat of trading on Friday were staggering. (They eventually went "manual" on the opening day of the biggest tech offer ever on the biggest tech exchange in the world... how ironic... manual.)

    There's nothing out there, nothing anywhere about who or how many people did or didn't get confirmations or when they got them. There's nothing out there because the exchange is panicking, and if thousands of confirms, or tens of millions of shares, are up in the air... well imagine what could happen.

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  • There's More to the IPO Market Than Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) Admit it, you love the Facebook IPO (Nasdaq: FB).

    Besides its $100 billion-plus stock valuation, the social media company has over 900 million active users worldwide.

    Plus, at $16 billion, Facebook will go down as the second largest U.S. IPO ever, trailing only Visa's $17.9 billion deal in 2010.

    But let's not forget, this isn't the first IPO that's gotten a ton of attention, and it won't be the last.

    In fact, the hype surrounding Facebook stock is overshadowing the entire IPO market, clouding the big picture, and perhaps, some worthwhile investments.

    So let's take a look at what else has been going on in the IPO market and what's coming up that deserves your attention.

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  • Facebook Stock Price Gets Small Bump in Lackluster Debut In what was one of the most highly anticipated initial public offerings in history, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) finally made its debut among much fanfare and frenzy Friday.

    But the Facebook stock price failed to soar as high as the hype. While not exactly a dud, the intro was definitely subdued.

    Shares opened around 11:30 a.m. in New York at $42.05, up about 11% from Facebook's IPO price. Momentum quickly ebbed, and shares dropped as low at the $38 IPO price in the first half hour of trading.

    By 3 p.m. shares were hovering just above $38. But with an hour of trading still to go, investors shouldn't get complacent.

    "The day isn't over," cautioned Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald. But regarding Facebook's debut, "initial trading has not been impressive."

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  • Facebook Stock Ready to Roll – But Where Will it Go? The Facebook IPO price was set and the stock is ready to start trading - but will it live up to its hype or sharply sell-off?

    The social media giant priced at $38 a share, the company announced after market close yesterday (Thursday).

    That makes Facebook the largest tech IPO in history, valued at $16 billion.

    It's the third largest U.S. IPO ever, behind first place Visa at $19.7 billion and then General Motors, which raised $18.1 billion.

    While the stock has created unrivaled investor frenzy, there is a wide range of predictions for how Facebook will do in its first trading day - and who the real winners will be.

    "The ones who make out on IPOs are the early investors, venture capitalists, founders, and underwriters," said Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald. "The public almost always goes along for the ride...whether or not they get taken for a ride remains to be seen." The Facebook stock price will be determined when it starts trading today at 11 a.m.

    Where the cutoff is for considering the IPO a success varies - with many thinking anything below 50% would be a disappointment.

    "I think anything over 50 percent will be considered a successful offering - anything under that would be underwhelming, Jim Krapfel, an analyst at Morningstar, told Reuters. "A lot of retail investors are not concerned about valuation. That's what is going to drive the first day pop."

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  • Investing in IPOs: Why You Should Think Twice About Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) Ever since the Dutch East India Company became the first to issue stocks and bonds to the public in 1602, investors have seen initial public offerings (IPOs) as the road to riches.

    The current hype surrounding the Facebook IPO is just one example.

    But investors tempted by Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) may want to think back to the dotcom craze of the late 1990 s. You'll remember it spawned a feeding frenzy among investors chasing after internet IPOs on an almost daily basis.

    It wasn't long before investors on Main Street took the bait after watching hordes of new college graduates in Silicon Valley become instant millionaires.

    But as companies with unproven business models executed massive IPOs with sky-high prices, every day investors who succumbed to the siren call got clobbered.

    Pets.com for instance, raised $82.5 million in an IPO in February 2000 before imploding nine months later. And EToys.com stock went from a high of $84 per share in 1999 to a low of just 9 cents per share in February 2001.

    In both cases, small investors were left holding the bag. The point is IPOs have always been high-risk, high-reward.

    So, what is an IPO anyway? How do people get rich-and go broke-- so fast? And, more importantly, should you invest in an IPO like Facebook for instance?

    Here's what you need to know...

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  • The Facebook IPO Facts: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Face it, you want it. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the Facebook IPO.

    But, can you handle the truth? Will the hyped sensationalism be a boon or a boondoggle?

    I'm not going to tell you what to do, whether you should buy Facebook sooner rather than later. That's up to you.

    However, I will tell you that I won't be buying it right away, but, I will be buying it if...

    First though, here's the good the bad and the ugly truth about the company, the IPO and owning "FB."

    The Good News About the Facebook IPO

    The good news is overwhelming if you're Mark Zuckerberg, any of the company's founders, executives, or venture capital backers, many of whom own Facebook stock (Nasdaq: FB) at a dollar a share.

    So far, the target range the stock is expected to be priced at--which was originally $28-$35/share-- has been raised to between $34-$38.

    And it could very well go higher before tonight's pricing deadline. The amount of shares to be floated is being raised too.

    That's all good news for the insiders, the underwriters and the company itself.

    FB is causing its own IPO hype, partly because it will be the largest IPO in U.S. history, in terms of the value it will put on the company, which will likely approach $100 billion. However, Visa in 2008 and GM in 2010 will have raised more money on their IPO debuts. (I know, calling GM's IPO a debut is strange to me too.)

    Facebook will raise at least $13 billion (at the lowest end of the price and share offering range) and bank some $9 billion in cash on its balance sheet. That's good news.

    But better than that, the company will now have a huge hoard of stock as currency to use to buy up companies and technology to advance its master of the social media universe status.

    The other good news is that... Read More...
  • Five with Fitz: What I See When I Look Over the Horizon When you've been working the markets as long as I have, you learn that the biggest dangers are always found in a place just over the horizon.

    It's why I spend my time hunting for stories, news items and opinions that in the old days were considered far "below the fold."

    Invariably, what I am looking for is the stuff that everybody else has missed.

    Because I believe that's where the real information is -- especially when it comes to uncovering profitable opportunities others don't yet see or understand.

    It's the story behind the story that interests me. To find it, you need to go beyond the headline news.

    In that spirit, here's my take on five things that I'm thinking about right now.

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  • Facebook's IPO Price Too High? Not For The Woz The Facebook IPO just got big-name support from the tech world.

    Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) co-founder Steve "The Woz" Wozniak said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that he would invest in Facebook, regardless of the price.

    Wozniak, who built the first Apple computer with Steve Jobs and co-founded the company with him in 1976, also commented in the May 12 interview that he thought Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg combines the talents of the late Jobs and of Wozniak himself.

    "I was thankful to have a partnership with Steve Jobs and I see Mark Zuckerberg closer to the combination of us," said Wozniak. "When he speaks he speaks with a lot of idealism for the users and a lot of good ideas for the product overall."

    The favorable Facebook fodder came just as Facebook upped its projected IPO price from $28 - $35 per share to $34 - $38 per share. That gives the social networking company a valuation exceeding $100 billion.

    Facebook stock (Nasdaq: FB) is slated to start trading Friday.

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