Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has barely been listed at a public company for two years, yet it has become one of the most widely traded stocks on any U.S. exchange. Vying for the top spot are the shares of Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC), Intel Corp. (NYSE: INTC), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) most days. Most of these have been publicly traded for decades and are among the largest companies in the world by sales. Something obviously makes Facebook different.
Facebook may be high on the list because it is the standard bearer of Web 2.0 companies. That group could be characterized as modest if only LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD), Groupon Inc. (NASDAQ: GRPN) and Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA) make the list. There is, however, a case to be made that some older companies have “reinvented” themselves so they can be considered part of the new wave of technology. Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) should be on this list, primarily because of Android. Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) should be included because of its video service and the Kindle, and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) because it has transformed itself from a PC company to a leader in smartphones, tablets and more. Each of Apple’s major products is barely half a decade old, or newer.
Facebook’s market capitalization also has clicked higher since its initial public offering, after dropping sharply for a time. As some measure of how Wall Street considers it as among America’s most important public companies, its market cap sits at $143 billion. This is a nagging reminder to the managements of much larger companies than Facebook, based on revenue, that this revenue has been devalued. Cisco Systems Inc.’s (NASDAQ: CSCO) market cap is lower than Facebook’s. The same holds true for Intel. Among financial sector stocks, Facebook has a market cap that nearly matches Citigroup Inc.’s (NYSE: C) and is much larger than that of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS).
Finally, if customer base has any relationship to trading volume, Facebook has its 1.1 billion users. There is no way to trace users to shareholders, but it would make sense that there is some link between the two. Loyalty can spread from participation to ownership.
Facebook, a darling of traders for many months, has parlayed that status, and several other factors, into an average of 70 million shares traded a day.