Nasdaq hitch mars Facebook's big day

The IPO went off a bit later than expected -- and ended up closing almost unchanged -- after Nasdaq's systems reportedly had trouble informing traders and firms that their orders had been placed.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
Nasdaq welcomed Facebook -- too bad it was a bit late.
Nasdaq welcomed Facebook -- too bad it was a bit late. Sarah Tew/CBS Interactive

Updated at 2:33 p.m. PT

In the end, all of Facebook's major shareholders and insiders who cashed out today got their big payday. It just took a little bit longer for the company to celebrate than initially anticipated.

Facebook this morning was expected to go public at about 8 a.m. PT. However, the shares didn't start trading until approximately 8:30 a.m. PT, causing some to wonder what might have caused the hiccup. During that period, Bloomberg reported that it had received an e-mailed statement from Nasdaq, saying only that it was "experiencing a delay."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the trouble might have started much earlier this morning. Sources the Journal spoke with said that traders were not able to confirm changes or cancellations made to Facebook orders starting as early as 4:30 a.m. PT. Later on in the morning, according to the Journal, traders had not received confirmation from Nasdaq that transactions had actually been completed.

For traders, the implications of a delay in confirmations are major. Without knowing if a sale went through, there's no telling if the transaction was locked in at the desired price. What's worse, the issue can cause some trouble between traders and their not-so-patient clients.

Even so, according to the Journal, Nasdaq had been processing all of the shares as requested -- the issue was solely with its message relays. On Friday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that the SEC will be reviewing Nasdaq trading in Facebook; the news service noted that the commission "routinely" conducts such reviews.

It's not hard to see why Nasdaq's systems might have been hit hard by the IPO. According to Dow Jones, over 200 million shares changed hands in the first hour, alone, putting Facebook on pace to become the most heavily traded U.S. IPO in history.

CNET's complete coverage: Facebook's monster IPO

Facebook shares finished the day at $38.27 -- up a mere 0.71 percent compared to their $38 opening.

CNET has contacted Nasdaq for comment on the IPO delay. We will update this story when we have more information.

Updated at 2:33 p.m. PT with closing price, Bloomberg report on SEC review of Nasdaq trading in Facebook.

Watch this: Mark Zuckerberg rings Nasdaq opening bell