Facebook Stock Closes at All-Time Low, Apple's at All-Time High

Thursday's hullabaloo on Wall Street and in Silicon Valley concerned the very different fates of the two tech giants

By Jason Middleton and Sam Schulz
|  Thursday, Aug 16, 2012  |  Updated 3:53 PM PDT
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Olympics on Facebook

As Apple's stock closed at an all-time closing high Thursday, Facebook's stock dropped to an all-time low when the lockup period ended for a group of the company's early investors.

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Thursday on Wall Street told a tale of two tech behemoths, as Apple's stock closed at a record high and Facebook's at a record low.

Apple increased its market cap and increased its lead in the "most valuable company on the planet" race, with the company now valued at $596,511,500.

The share price saw a $5.51 increase, up 0.87 percent. The highest Apple has ever traded at is an intraday spike of $644 on April 10, 2012.

Facebook's fortunes were not so bright Thursday.

If your price point for purchasing Facebook stock was $20, it's time to buy. The share price closed at $19.87 on the Nasdaq, down from its Thursday open by 6.23 percent.

Thursday was the first of five stock "unlocks," when different groups of investors' shares of the newly public company become unrestricted, allowing them to be sold. (FB)

This unlock marked the first day insiders and some early investors could dump their shares. It was unclear whether the price plummet was triggered by an actual sell-off by those insiders or by a sell-off by other investors in fear of a stock dump by those insiders, though.

Estimates are that there are approximately 2 billion more shares to hit the open market by the end of 2012.

Things have been rough for the social media behemoth since its bungled IPO on May 18. That said, other tech companies have seen similar drops during unlocks: LinkedIn slipped 7 percent, and Groupon fell 10 percent, also an all-time low point.

The real Facebook stock deluge could come in November, when employees — including CEO Mark Zuckerberg — are able to sell their shares, too. Employees will owe taxes on the value of that stock, according to CNN.com. Facebook plans to withhold many of the employee shares to sell them and cover the tax bill, the site reports.

Facebook did meet Wall Street expectations in its first quarterly report, but concerns linger as to whether it can monetize its mobile presence and continue to grow the company.

One other tech CEO, Netflix's Reed Hastings, has confidence. He bought $1 million of Facebook just last week.

Meanwhile, Apple's been tearing it up since its (ahem) disappointing earnings report. You know, the one where Wall Street didn't like the number of iPhone units that went unsold.

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