I’m no expert on the stock market, but at 9 a.m. Regina time this morning shares in Facebook began trading on the Nasdaq market. According to an article in Market Day, the company went public at the end of trading yesterday. In an early document filed with regulators, Facebook (which will trade under the symbol FB) estimated the price it would offer shares at as between $34-$38. It turned out that in the Initial Public Offering (IPO) the shares were valued at the upper end of that range, raising an estimated $16 billion for the company and putting its value at over $100 billion.

Stock market analysts are split, I believe, on the wisdom of investing in the company. Some have compared it with earlier IPOs by Apple, Amazon.com and Google that produced strong returns for investors. Other analysts argue that while Facebook is an undoubtedly popular social media site, its capacity to generate revenue is still an unknown quantity.

The initial IPO was offered to select investment houses and banks only. If Facebook shares follow the path other tech companies have, once trading opens ordinary investors who have been chomping at the bit to get in on the action will rush in and bid up the share price substantially. Initial IPO purchasers can then sell at a significant profit, then it’s all a matter of where the shares settle at and how the company performs in the years to come with the infusion of cash its received through the IPO.