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Facebook IPO: Big Volume, But Little to Show For It
CNBC.com | May 18, 2012 | 04:00 PM EDT

Facebook set a record for volume on its first day of trading, but the stock otherwise failed to live up to all the hype and posted just a modest gain for the day.

After an attention-grabbing half-hour delay to start its initial public offering, Facebook shares opened at $38, surged as much as 11 percent during the day, but ultimately finished just above unchanged after hitting an intraday high of $45.

Late in the trading day the stock threatened to hit negative numbers, vacillating around unchanged as underwriters put up a vigorous fight to defend the breakeven point.

The lackluster performance was both a testament to good pricing and a bit of an embarrassment for a company that was supposed to wow Wall Street on its opening day.

And after the market close the SEC said it would be looking into apparent hiccups in the trading execution of Facebook shares on Nasdaq.

"I thought it was going to open at $48 and trade up around there," said Michael Cohn, chief market strategist at Atlantis Asset Management in New York.

Noting the "furor was a little out of control," Cohn said he heard stories attributing the market's recent meltdown to investors selling other shares so they would have money to buy Facebook.

The company started in a Harvard dorm room and became, with Friday's trading, a more than $100 billion behemoth.

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