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Before taking Zuckerberg’s FB advice better think twice or thrice

By Dian Vujovich

I’ve always thought Facebook’s IPO of $38 per share was absolutely ridiculous. So much so that it had to have been decided upon by those suffering from a version of the  brain numbing mad cow disease  that somehow  made its way into the minds of way too young investment bankers, entrepreneurs and the overly exuberant all high on expectations but short on long-term Wall Street  experience.  Therefore,  it came as no surprise to me  that FB’s per share price volleyed to a high of $45 and then to a low of 17 and change since going public in May.


That said, the other day I was asked if I thought Facebook was a buy at its current price: It closed Friday at $22. That’s a good question with no one simple answer. But, given that how much money the company will make in the future is uncertain, the company claims to have more users than there are souls on the planet—not really, 955 million is the current number reported by the FB—and everyone from the FBI to your hatchet carrying x can follow your every move should you decide to share your life on that online forum, I’ not sure.


What I am sure about are the other questions the should-I-buy-FB-now question bring up. Like those about your investment strategy should you decide to purchase shares.


First, the price.  Let’s just pretend you were fortunate enough to buy 100 shares of FB when they were flying high— say at $44  a share.


The price drop from $44 to $22 represents a drop in share price of 50 percent. That’s a big nut to swallow if you’re already a shareholder. But an even bigger nut to realize is that this stock has to go up 100 percent to get it back to the price originally paid of 44  bucks a share.


One hundred percent gains happen in the equity markets but not overnight.  Sometimes not for many months of overnights or  even in  years. And sometimes never.


Which brings me to the next three questions you’ll have to ask yourself about FB: Why are you investing in it? How long do you intend on holding the stock before selling it? And, what kinds of gains do you hope to see?


Last week, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg told an audience of teckies in San Francisco that since the stock was trading at half of its value since going public it was a great time to “double down”.


Well, Zuck, I’ve got to disagree. As a non-institutional little gal/guy investor who may have gotten burnt by your IPO, I’d think twice about doubling down on my position. There are a lot of investment opportunities in this market that would be considered far  less risky. Plus, I don’t think Facebook is any Apple.


But if I were a FB believer who sees big things ahead for this company, at its current  price the company, and my reasons for investing in it, are worthy of  some research.

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