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Tags: Facebook | Shares | neutral | Rating

Facebook Shares Earn ‘Neutral’ Rating as Advertising Woes Heat Up

Monday, 21 May 2012 11:44 AM EDT

Facebook shares fell 11 percent Monday in the wake of a much anticipated initial public offering mired in technical glitches. Investors sold on concerns that despite the company's 900 million users, revenues streams remained a concern.

BTIG initiated coverage of Facebook on Monday with a “neutral” rating due to concerns the company will struggle to find ways to make money via advertising, Fox Business Network reports.

Global automobile giant General Motors, one of the country's largest advertisers, recently pulled the plug on a Facebook advertising campaign on concerns it wasn't working.

"We believe in the potential of the Facebook platform. However, even on the traditional PC/Mac platform, advertising remains nascent,” Richard Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG, writes in a research note, Fox Business Network reports.

"We believe there is a learning curve for Facebook advertisers, which will take time, as harnessing Facebook’s potential requires a more strategic/creative marketing approach," Greenfield adds.

Amid technical glitches at the Nasdaq, Facebook began trading on Friday.

The company was priced at $38 a share, which valued the company at $104 billion.

"You are taking a hell of a gamble valuing a company as much as Hewlett-Packard or Cisco but with declining revenue — and when the third largest advertiser just announced it's not using Facebook," Bob Wiedemer, author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller "Aftershock" and Managing Director at Absolute Investment Management, told Moneynews.

"I like Facebook and I think it's interesting and I think it's a great company but I think the valuation is ridiculous."

Concerns over a Nasdaq system glitch that failed to properly execute buy and sell orders on Friday coupled with worries that underwriters viewed the company with too much zeal before going public left investors edgy on Monday.

"It was just a poorly done deal and it just so happens to be the biggest deal ever for Nasdaq and they pooched it, that's the bottom line here," Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey, tells CNBC.

Others called for caution as well.

"Investors are increasingly aware of the risk embedded in the stock price. There are real concerns about growth and advertisers' frequent lack of certainty how best to use Facebook, along with rising costs and ongoing acquisition risk," says Brian Wieser at Pivotal Research Group, who has a $30 target on the stock, CNBC adds.

"At $38, the stock is priced for perfection in a manner that implied that risks were negligible."

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Monday, 21 May 2012 11:44 AM
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