ETFs Still ‘Friending’ Facebook

Facebook’s (NYSE:FB) highly anticipated public debut failed to stimulate the market as shares slid well below their offering price in the first days of trading. Problems plaguing the social network’s IPO have prompted investors to raise new concerns. System glitches affected millions of shares on Friday as the total losses have yet to be determined.

But while a number of investors shy away from Facebook’s volatile stock, others are anxiously awaiting the action, looking for alternative ways to invest in the social media network.

Two exchange-traded funds are expected to add Facebook to their top holdings over the next few days.  ETF regulations blocked Global X Social Media (NYSE:SOCL) and the First Trust US IPO Index (NYSE:FPX) from exposure to initial volatility.  The ETFs require newly issued securities to trade for a certain number of days before adding to funds.

But the time restraint doesn’t mean fund managers are passively awaiting Facebook’s eligibility, as the ETFs are positioning allocations to take action as soon as possible.

Global X Social Media ETF saw trading volume climb last week before slipping amid the disappointing debut.  The ETF is down approximately 6% since Friday’s opening bell.  SOCL, whose top holdings include other social media stocks like LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD) and Pandora (NYSE:P) is permitted to add Facebook at the end of the week, following its fifth trading day.

“[The Global X Social Media] fund adds firms at the close of the fifth trading day because we’re not in the business of speculating,” said Bruno Del Ama, Global X Funds Co-Founder and CEO.  “We offer [investors] exposure to firms over the next decade.”

The second ETF expected to add Facebook before the end of the month is The First Trust US IPO Index.  FPX’s underlying index tracks the 100 largest stocks within its category. Facebook is likely to be a top holding given its more than $100B valuation.  New IPOs are added to the index following the seventh day of trading.

Despite its disappointing debut, Facebook set a new trading volume record for initial public offerings.  More than 80 million shares changed hands during the first 30 seconds of trading on Friday and volume ticked up to more than a half a billion shares by the end of the session.

Facebook’s sluggish start doesn’t look to be spooking the ETF industry. In fact, Bruno Del Ama says an IPO of that size and hype is expected to experience increased volatility.  And he still sees a great investment opportunity in Facebook and other social media stocks, attributing the barrier to entry an attractive play. “The networks these companies build are highly defensible,” said Del Ama.  “They’ve constructed a significant moat and it’s a huge advantage.”