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18 May 2012

NASDAQ Open 9:30; Facebook Trades Later

Facebook paper stock certificate. NASDAQ opens at 9:30 ET, but Facebook shares won't trade until 11:00 AM or later.
Facebook paper stock certificate (Image: sec.gov)
At 9:30EST today, Mark Zuckerberg will ring NASDAQ's opening bell, but Facebook fans will have to wait awhile before buying a piece of the social networking giant.

NASDAQ offers companies some leeway in the timing of their Wall Street baptisms. The only hard rule for commencement of trading is that it start well before the market's 4PM ET close. So, when will Facebook shares hit the big board? NASDAQ reps declined to comment on Facebook's debut, but we do have precedent to consider.

Many expect today's IPO will begin trading shortly before 11 am ET. This dovetails nicely with recent practice (see below), as well the location of Facebook's HQ (Pacific time zone; 3 hours behind ET). Employees who stayed awake through the all-night hackathon will have time for a quick nap, before the money starts rolling in.

Recent Nasdaq IPOs, along with date and time of opening trades.:

Angie's List (ANGI)       17 Nov., 2011;  ~10:58 am ET
Groupon     (GRPN)          1 Nov., 2011;  ~10:58 am ET
Proofpoint  (PFPT)       20 April, 2012;     10:25 am ET
Splunk         (SPLK)        19 April, 2012;     11:20 am ET
Zynga           (ZNGA)        16 Dec., 2011;  ~10:58 am ET

Of course, there's a lot going on before then. Already, NASDAQ will have begun the IPO cross, a preliminary period when buy- or sell-orders can be submitted. These trades will be matched up by the system, but held back (technically, left incomplete) until the official start of trading. That means you'll see lots of action, right away.

So, grab some popcorn and your favorite beverage -- it's bound to be an exciting day. For news on the opening trades plus continuous updates on today's Facebook kickoff, we suggest reserving a browser tab for NASDAQ'a Facebook page, independent trading sites like Street Insider or even the The New York Times' live-blog.

Just 60 minutes to go. MobilePhonesFan can hardly wait!

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