So why didn't Facebook get a big "pop" after it started trading on the open market? Here's one answer: The company isn't worth the stock price, and investors know it.
I'm not saying Facebook is a rip-off. If you think this website is the pesto on the Internet's pasta, then by all means help yourself to a share or two.
But is Facebook really worth more than Bank of America? Is it worth more than McDonald's? Disney? Amazon?
That's what Facebook thinks. The opening $38-a-share valuation put Facebook's worth above all these other companies.
And maybe, over the long haul, Facebook is right. But then again, maybe not. And judging from investors' initial response to the share offering, it's the latter opinion that's holding sway on Wall Street.
So the big story here isn't Facebook. It's the investing public, and the fact that people seem to have gotten smarter about highfalutin' tech companies that are long on promise but short on profitability.