A guide to buying and selling Facebook (Meta) shares

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Rebecca Cattlin
By :  ,  Financial Writer

Facebook shares: the basics

Meta Platforms, Facebook’s new parent company, trades on the NASDAQ exchange under its original ticker FB – although it’s expected to change to META in H1 2022, to reflect the company’s shifting focus toward the metaverse.

Facebook went public in May 2012, in a disastrous IPO. The company’s shares fell to an all-time low of $17.73 in the following months and took over a year to return to the offer price of $42. Fast-forward to September 2021, Facebook shares reached an all-time high of $382.18. 

See Facebook's live share price.

As of April 5 2022, Facebook had 2.37 billion outstanding shares and a market cap of £636.63 billion.

How to buy and sell Facebook stock

You can speculate on the price of Facebook shares via derivatives. Unlike traditional investing, you won’t take ownership of the underlying assets, which means you can go long or short – benefiting from rising and falling prices.

To get started, follow these quick steps:

  1. Open an account
  2. Search ‘Facebook’ or ‘Meta’ in our platform
  3. Decide whether to ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ in the deal ticket
  4. Enter your position

There are a couple of other ways you can get exposure to Meta shares too. As Facebook, the company is famously part of the group of tech stocks known as FAANG – alongside Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (now Alphabet) – you can trade it via our FAANG thematic index

It’s also a constituent of the NASDAQ 100 composite and is one of the top 10 components of the S&P 500. This means you can gain exposure to FB shares when you take a position on either stock index – with us that’s the US Tech 100 and US SP 500 – or via a variety of index ETFs.

Why did Facebook change its name?

In October 2021, it was reported that Facebook planned to change its name to ‘reflect its focus on building the metaverse’ – a virtual world in which users interact via avatars and tech tools such as virtual reality headsets.

Another reason for the change was an attempt to leave behind the controversies linked to Facebook. Over the last few years, the social media giant has had plenty of scandals over its user data management and content management.

The Meta rebrand was completed on October 28.

What brands does Meta own?

When trading Meta stock, you’ll also be getting exposure to the other brands the Facebook parent company owns – such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Oracle.

Meta’s business is now divided into two parts: Family of Apps (FoA) which contains its social media platforms, and Reality Labs (RL), which holds its augmented and virtual reality products.

Aside from Facebook itself, the two most well-known brands under the Facebook umbrella are Instagram – which FB bought in 2012 for $1 billion – and WhatsApp, which is acquired for $19 billion in 2014.

Since 2005, it’s estimated that Facebook has spent more than £23 billion on acquisitions of tech, apps and software companies. The rough figure is 70 companies, but many went undisclosed to the public so it could be more.

Other than Instagram and WhatsApp, the biggest disclosed acquisition is Oculus, a virtual reality company. Oculus is the driving force behind Facebook’s leap into the Metaverse. As a digital universe, the metaverse requires certain software and hardware to access. Oculus creates virtual reality headsets and metaverse platforms, such as Horizon Worlds.

CRTL-labs, a neural interface start-up, and LiveRail, a video supply platform are other notable acquisitions for Meta.

Facebook’s fundamentals

In its FY 2021 earnings, Meta posted a net income of $39.37 billion, up 35% year-over-year (YoY). As much as 97%, or $32.8 billion, was advertising revenue, which all comes from its FoA segment. As such, FoA competes with other advertising platforms such as Apple, Alphabet and Tencent Music Entertainment, as well as social media sites like Twitter and TikTok.

For the first time ever, Facebook reported that the company had lost half a million daily active users in the fourth quarter of 2021. On February 3 2022, the day after the earnings release, FB stock plummeted from $323 to $238 – wiping out over $250 billion from the company’s market value. It marked the largest single-day loss in history, according to the Nasdaq.

However, the FoA segment still posted $15.89 billion in operating income for Q4, comprising all of the company’s operating income for the quarter. The Reality Labs segment only accounts for 3% of revenue and reported an operating loss of $3.3 billion for FY 2021.  

Learn how to read an earnings report.

Who owns Facebook?

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, who owns just under 13% of Meta – making him the largest individual shareholder. Prior to the dramatic fall in Facebook’s shares in February 2022, Zuckerberg was consistently one of the ten richest people in the world, but the drop wiped $85 billion from his net worth taking him to 13th.  

This is a marked change from August 2020, when Zuckerberg became the youngest person in history to reach centibillionaire status.

Related tags: Meta Nasdaq Treasuries Insights

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