FB Stock Price

Will a Poor Facebook Earnings Report Seal the Stock's Fate?

The third-quarter Facebook earnings report will come out Oct. 23 after the markets close, and the results are looking increasingly dismal.

Despite a recent milestone (one billion users), a new "want" button feature and a "pay-to-promote post" option, the company has failed to drum up investor and analyst fanfare.

Wall Street shrugged off all of the recent news and Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) stock barely budged, except to move a little lower.

Even CEO Mark Zuckerberg's mid-September interview, which appeared to put some spark back into Facebook's fading shares, now seems like a very distant memory.

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Is There Any Benefit to Facebook's New "Want" Button?

Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) rolled out a business-friendly interactive tool for its massive user base on Monday with the launch of a "want" button.

But, what Facebook will get from the "want" button is unclear.

Still in the testing mode, the new feature allows Facebook members to create "wish lists" of desired items ranging from home furnishings to clothing to books to a bevy of other retail products. It's kind of like a Christmas list or bridal registry.

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Facebook Stock Won't be Saved by this "Useless" Idea

Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) announced today (Thursday) it had finally amassed its one billionth member.

While the company celebrated the landmark number, many analysts simply shrugged it off. So did Facebook stock, which was down about 0.4% by 2 p.m.

As MarketWatch pointed out, "it's great to have one-seventh of the world's population in your network, but Facebook will have to translate that to the bottom line to sustain its upward momentum of late."

Or, as Money Morning wrote a few weeks back, "Congrats on one billion Facebook users... who buy nothing."

Facebook, in order to change that flaw, released a new plan this week to make money off its enormous subscriber base.

But here's why Zuckerberg and team should go back to the drawing board.

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Why Facebook Stock Has Much Farther to Fall

After Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the public earlier this month to stem concerns over the stock's steep and steady fall, Facebook shares enjoyed a mild rally.

That was fun for investors while it lasted.

Facebook stock Monday renewed its descent, dropping 11% before stabilizing a bit to finish the day down 8.3% at $20.79.

Monday's intraday decline was the steepest since July 27. It was so sharp it tripped Nasdaq's circuit breakers meant to shield investors from short-seller manipulation.

Sparking this week's selloff was a fresh report from Barron's that said the company is overvalued. Renewed concerns over how quickly the social-networking behemoth can capitalize on revenue from the exploding number of users who access the site via mobile devices and tablets contributed to the drop.

Tuesday morning, the selling continued.

Before the recent selling spree, shares of the Menlo Park, CA-based company had given back some 45% since its hugely hyped initial public offering on May 18.

But that decline isn't enough.

Barron's gave Facebook a best-case scenario of $15 per share.

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While Facebook Struggles, These Rivals Steal Market Share

As Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) continues to struggle with growth and mobile strategies, its rivals keep moving forward in both areas.

GREE, Japan's $4.7 billion online media behemoth and rival to Facebook and its gaming counterpart Zynga Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNGA), moved further into Facebook's territory Monday with the purchase of social gaming company App Ant Studios.

GREE already enjoys a prominent position in social media. It's quickly gaining on other social networks, namely Facebook, since the bulk of its users already access the site via mobile devices - an arena in which Facebook lags.

With a strong focus on selling virtual goods, and with a variety of other superior services and mobile games, GREE is vying for sustained growth by expanding beyond its home turf -and is succeeding.

"GREE strives to build the world's leading global mobile gaming ecosystem. The acquisition of App Ant Studio will help GREE reach its goal of having 1 billion users worldwide as it expands its robust portfolio of games on GREE Platform," a company statement read. GREE gushes the new Platform will deliver exclusive social gaming experiences, in addition to offering developers access to a rising and engaged worldwide audience.

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Facebook CEO Interview Sparks Stock Rally, But it Won't Last

Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the public and press yesterday (Tuesday) evening in his first interview since the social networking firm went public this spring, and he was a man on a mission.

Zuckerberg aimed to show shareholders, analysts, employees and members that Facebook has not lost its swagger.

Speaking at the TechCrunch conference in San Francisco, 28-year-old Zuckerberg, who has been harshly criticized for his lack of prowess as a CEO, appeared relaxed in his usual casual attire.

While Zuckerberg's speech sparked some excitement and lit a fuel under Facebook's floundering stock, sending shares up 3% in extended trading Tuesday and another 6% by 1 p.m. Wednesday, the rally will be short-lived.

"I certainly wouldn't buy this stock tomorrow," Simon Baker, founder of Baker Asset Management, told CNBC. "It's still an expensive stock-it trades at 30 times next year earnings. In fact, I'd sell the pop."

When Facebook debuted on the Nasdaq May 18, it became the first U.S. company to go public with a value of more than $100 billion. Since the epic IPO, it has lost more than half of its capitalization as investors agonize about waning growth, employee defection, lack of presence in the mobile arena, fading traffic and Zuckerberg's capability at the helm.

That's why CNBC's "Fast Money" regular and president of Metropolitan Capital Karen Finerman shared Baker's skepticism over Facebook stock.

Regarding Zuckerberg's comments about the Facebook mobile strategy, Finerman said, "Unless you think Zuckerberg can monetize mobile and no one else can-I would prefer to be in a stock that trades at a lower valuation."

Zuckerberg Shines Light on the Future of Facebook

In the half hour interview, Zuckerberg touched on all areas of concern.



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Facebook Stock Gains, But Rival Threatens Market Share

Look out, Facebook: LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) is inching into your territory.

As Facebook stock (Nasdaq: FB) keeps climbing from its all-time low last week of $17.55 a share, business-oriented networking site LinkedIn has introduced some new features that resemble those of Facebook.

LinkedIn last week rolled out a new notification system and launched an update for its iPhone, iPad and Android apps. The updates now inform a member when someone likes or comments on one of their status updates - just like Facebook, the social networking leader.

In the past LinkedIn only sent notifications if someone sent a member a message or extended an invitation to become a connection.

In a statement, the company gushed, "You'll never miss a comment or update to an engaging discussion about a news article or trending topic on LinkedIn."

LinkedIn's head of mobile products Joff Redfern said in an interview that the update will also let a member peruse company pages and job postings on smartphones and tablets. According to Redfern, users requested the feature so they could covertly browse for jobs while at work.

The latest moves highlight how LinkedIn is morphing from a headhunting and career-networking site into something bigger. Facebook big.

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If Only Zuckerberg Chose a Catchier Facebook Ticker Symbol

If only CEO Mark Zuckerberg had used a bit more imagination when cooking up the Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) ticker symbol, its stock might have fared a little better.

Sound crazy? Maybe, but several studies have shown that clever, pronounceable stock symbols - think Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) and Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) - do better in the market.

The phenomenon is particularly true for IPOs, with the "fun name halo" extending about 10 days out from the stock's first day of trading.

Companies that choose a ticker symbol that doesn't form a pronounceable word - yes, like Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) -- often struggle. Generally speaking, the more jumbled the letters, the worse a stock does.

"[Our] research shows that people take mental shortcuts, even when it comes to their investments, when it would seem they would want to be most rational," Professor Daniel Oppenheimer, who co-authored a 2006 Princeton University study of the subject, told Psych Central.

While the academics who have studied this have not conclusively nailed down the cause, most suspect it has to do with something called "fluency," or how easily a person can process information.

People are simply drawn more to a catchy ticker symbol like YUM than a drab one like FB.

"It is possible that [people] are initially more attracted to fluently named stocks, that they pay particular attention to those stocks, or even that they favor those stocks because they have developed an association between easily processed names and success," Adam Alter, Oppenheimer's research partner, told The Wall Street Journal.

The Science Behind Clever Tickers

Naturally, not every stock with a clever ticker symbol outperforms and not every stock with a subpar ticker symbol underperforms. But the broad data show a surprisingly strong relationship between a ticker and how well the stock does.

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Will a Weak Facebook Earnings Report Open Doors for these Competitors?

We know investors will want a few key details from today's Facebook earnings report, like how much more user growth the site expects, if it can increase ad sales and how it'll tackle mobile usage.

But something people haven't questioned as much is if there are any competitors lurking in the shadows that could eat away at Facebook's online presence.

Turns out Facebook has reason to be concerned.

MarketWatch's David Weidner last week addressed some competition creeping into Facebook's world. In his article "Here's the app that could kill Facebook," Weidner detailed how an up-and-coming app could actually threaten Facebook's hold on social networking.

Tack this on to the list of reasons to avoid Facebook stock - in case you needed any more.

Path: A Facebook Threat?

The app in question is called Path.

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What to Look for in the Facebook Earnings Report

The most highly anticipated earnings report this month will come July 26 when Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) releases its first results as a public company.

While the event won't garner the same kind of fanfare Facebook enjoyed leading up to its IPO, the projected numbers are already attracting a great deal of negative attention, and Facebook stock has fallen in the midst of some dreary expectations.

According to data from Bloomberg News, Facebook is forecast to report revenue of $1.16 billion, while profit is expected to have fallen 10% to 11 cents a share amid a slowdown in sales. The whisper number is for earnings of 12 cents a share.

Predictions for the company have been slashed in recent weeks as concerns of a slowdown in sales and user defections have increased.

Those cuts have weighed on Facebook stock. Shares on Tuesday slipped for the sixth consecutive day, eked out a small gain Wednesday, and were lower again today (Thursday).

"People are concerned about the growth profile. More risk is being reflected in the lower stock price," Benjamin Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Securities USA Inc., told Bloomberg.


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You Might be Invested in Facebook Stock and Not Even Know it

Investors who boast that they were smart enough to avoid the hype of investing in Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) stock might want to check their mutual funds' holdings before relishing in their bravado.

According to data compiled by investment research firm Morningstar for The Wall Street Journal, some 160 U.S.-based mutual and exchange-traded funds bought shares of Facebook in May. And since only some fund companies choose to reveal their holdings on a monthly basis, the ones that chose to invest in Facebook will be disclosed over the next two months as fund companies file quarterly reports.

"Even if John Q. Public didn't buy [Facebook] directly, he may own one of the hundreds of mutual funds that did," Geoff Bobroff, a mutual fund consultant in East Greenwich, RI, told The Journal.

What is notable in many cases about the purchases, including those by lead underwriter Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), is that some of the funds that purchased shares wouldn't normally invest in a high-growth technology company like Facebook. And some wouldn't invest such a high percentage, like Morgan Stanley that had at least seven funds with over 5% of portfolio holdings in Facebook stock.

"That's a huge gamble," Michael Kalscheur, a financial planner with Castle Wealth Advisors LLC, told The Journal. "Are you really going to put an IPO as a top-five holding in a fund?"

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Analysts Weigh in on Facebook Stock as Quiet Period Ends

Investors who want more analyst opinion on the Facebook stock price now have a lot more reading to do.

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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Why Facebook Stock Could Get a Boost from New Ad Strategy

Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) continues hunting for a major development that'll lure investors back to its stock.

In order to do that, it has to show it can appease both users and advertisers. The world's largest social network, which has amassed some 900 million users worldwide, earned $3.15 billion from advertising in 2011.

But the Menlo Park, CA-based company has to attract more advertisers to its site since they've become disenchanted with Facebook's lagging mobile ad strategy.

Worries that Facebook's ad revenue growth is not moving in tandem with its explosive membership have weighed on the stock. Since going public on May 18 at $38 a share, Facebook stock has slumped 26%.

Recently, the company debuted mobile ads and other services to buoy sales, but investors remain skeptical that the efforts will successfully boost revenue.

"Facebook's been having challenges coming up with effective advertising. The company is hoping to use that inventory on the right side of the page to deliver advertising that is more targeted," Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer Inc., told Bloomberg News.

That's why the company is introducing Facebook Exchange.

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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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