Facebook prices its stock at $38 a share for IPO

Facebook Inc. priced its shares in its initial public stock offering at $38 late Thursday, setting the stage for its historic market debut Friday.

The IPO values Facebook at $104 billion, the largest-ever for a newly public company. The $18.4 billion that Facebook is expected to raise in the IPO itself would be the second-largest in U.S. history, trailing only the $19.65 billion of Visa Inc. in 2008.

The Facebook pricing comes at a jittery moment for the stock market, which suffered a deep drop Thursday in a continuation of the weakness that has gripped share prices this month.

The Dow Jones industrial average sank 156.06 points, or 1.2%, to 12,442.49. It has fallen 6.3% from its recent peak on May 1. The technology-laden Nasdaq composite, on which Facebook will begin trading Friday, slumped 60.35 points, or 2.1%, to 2,813.69.

Facebook’s debut has dominated Silicon Valley and Wall Street in recent weeks, as the company and the financial markets geared up for the most anticipated IPO since Google Inc. in 2004. >more

IT Services – Houston, Texas