Since Facebook Inc.'s (Nasdaq: FB) debut as a public company at $38 a share on May 18, and the stock's peak at $45 on the same day, shares have tumbled nearly 50%.
Facebook stock hit a fresh low yesterday (Tuesday), with shares reaching $17.55 before closing at $17.73.
The slump came after a trio of brokerage firms slashed their price targets for Facebook shares. The firms cited the wave of expiring lockup periods that will flood the market with close to 1.7 billion shares over the next several months.
The first lockup period expired Aug. 16, freeing a first batch of some 268 million shares. In mid-October, 192 million more shares will be let loose, and on Nov. 14 a whopping 1.2 billion shares will be free to sell.
The total is more than four times the number of shares floating on exchanges before the lockup periods began expiring.
"It's like a train coming around the corner toward shareholders, so they better get out of the way," Francis Gaskin, president of research firm IPOdesktop told the Los Angeles Times right before the end of the first lockup.