Why Facebook Can't Save the Nasdaq From Plunging

It's finally here: Facebook (NAS: FB) made its hotly anticipated debut today. Not only does Facebook touch the lives of people across the world in an unprecedented way, but it was also the largest market value for a U.S. company at IPO, ever.

How's the IPO doing? It's mixed. While investors could look at Facebook's midday 6% gain and see profits for early investors, the situation isn't that cut-and-dried.

For one, while its bad for the companies themselves, Wall Street aims to keep IPO prices a bit lower than their first-day trading prices to keep interest up among their clients bellying up to new IPOs. With all the attention surrounding Facebook, not having a decent pop would be a black eye for underwriters like JPMorgan Chase (NYS: JPM) and Goldman Sachs. The companies collected a lower percentage of fees than usual on the deal. In part, that was a worthwhile trade-off because of the publicity underwriting Facebook entailed.

However, the flip side of underwriting Facebook and all the attention around the IPO is that Facebook could have had a disastrous finish to the day. With JPMorgan having already lost $25 billion in shareholder value from its most recent trading black eye, that situation was unacceptable. Despite likely receiving only tens of millions for their role underwriting, JPMorgan and other brokers reportedly had to step in and begin buying billions in Facebook stock to keep it from slipping into the red.

That tactic looks to be working for the time being, though it's an ominous sign of Facebook's future performance. Wall Street's "quantitative easing" of Facebook can only last so long and will remove a level of support on the stock.

Against the mixed first-day performance, trading in Facebook shares also had their own problems. There were reports of long trade times as the Nasdaq exchange couldn't keep up with the massive volume of Facebook shares. Likewise, with investors unimpressed in the company's day, optimism in tech stocks continued its downward trend. The Nasdaq 100 (INDEX: ^IXIC) is down 0.76% late in the day. That's a bit worse than the 0.48% drop in the Dow Jones (INDEX: ^DJI) . Not surprisingly, as of this writing, all tech components in the Dow were in the negative.

A better idea than Facebook
While the first day action of an IPO can be riveting, we're long-term investors here at the Fool. And it's my strong belief that Facebook isn't positioned as well as some other recent IPOs to provide strong long-term gains. That's why we've prepared a free report, "Forget Facebook -- Here's the Tech IPO You Should Be Buying." The report's brand new but won't be here forever, so grab a copy today!

At the time thisarticle was published Eric Bleeker owns shares of no companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of JPMorgan Chase.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Goldman Sachs. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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