May 18 - A sloppy market debut for Facebook, following the biggest initial public offering from a U.S. tech company, added to Friday's downbeat tone with investors already worried about Europe. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The historic debut of Facebook was marred by technical glitches, a volatile stock price, and a close not far from the $38 IPO price. A much different feel from earlier in the day when excitement spread from Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California to the streets outside of the Nasdaq in New York City, as it seemed like there was nothing else to talk about but Facebook. SOUNDBITE: ROGER INGBER FROM SEATTLE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We placed an order with our broker and we'll see what happens. But I'm tickled pink for the gazillion people that already work for them and are going to make a lot of money and become millionaires. I think that's great. Only in America." SOUNDBITE: WALLY ARRINGTON, NEW YORKER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I have been out of the market of many years but I'm going back in because of this." SOUNDBITE: CHRIS HAUSMANN, CONNECTICUT (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I tried to get in on earlier action like this and it didn't work out. There will be an initial bubble and then come down." SOUNDBITE: JEAN CARON, PASSERBY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "A lot of people don't like the timeline so I'm thinking it's going to drop a little bit after the initial brouhaha calms down." But while Facebook was getting most of the buzz, investors were really focused on growing concerns the euro zone could be heading for a break up. Leaders from the Group of Eight are arriving in the U.S. for weekend talks to discuss a full-blown crisis in Europe. Ahead of that, Germany's Angela Merkel suggested Greece should vote on whether it wants to leave the euro zone, according to Greek officials. Worries that Europe's troubles will slow the global economy sent stocks to fresh four-month lows, with the Nasdaq taking the biggest blow percentage wise. For the week: blue chips slid 3.5 percent, the Nasdaq slumped more than 5 percent. European stocks closed out what was their worst week since September with fresh losses. Conway Gittens, Reuters