Facebook Shares Barely Budge in Hectic Trading

Facebook Logo Mark Zuckerberg Inset - H 2012

Facebook Logo Mark Zuckerberg Inset - H 2012

After delays and uncertainty surrounding buy and sell orders, federal regulators are trying to figure out what went wrong.

Facebook's first day as a publicly traded company was such a mess on Friday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the matter, according to several published reports.

Nasdaq on Friday delayed the trading of Facebook -- which priced its IPO at $38 on Thursday -- for 90 minutes and after that investors complained that they weren't receiving confirmations that their orders had been filled, or that their cancellations had been received.

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The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Fox Business Network and numerous other outlets that sent journalists to speak to buyers and sellers of Facebook stock reported frustrating glitches and long delays, which they attributed to Nasdaq. Brokers alerted customers of "slowness" in trading Facebook shares.

Facebook traded as high as $45 on Friday, but when it was all said and done, the stock closed just 23 cents higher than its IPO price. More than 580 million shares traded, which set a "volume" record for an IPO.

Morgan Stanley and the rest of the big underwriters reportedly purchased large chunks of shares at opportune moments in order to keep the stock from falling below $38, thus preventing the perception that the IPO was a flop.

The IPO reportedly made millionaires out of about 1,000 Facebook employees.

Email: paul.bond@thr.com