SAN FRANCISCO • Shares of Snap fell 4.9 per cent on Thursday to their initial public offering (IPO) price, highlighting investors' loss of confidence in the social media firm that faces fierce competition from Facebook.
The owner of Snapchat - a mobile app that lets users capture video and pictures that self-destruct after a few seconds - ended at US$17, the price set in its March IPO that was the hottest US tech listing in years.
Snap rose to US$29.44 in the days immediately after its market debut but has since declined. Thursday's price was the lowest since the IPO.
Snapchat is popular among people under 30 who enjoy applying bunny faces to their pictures.
But many on Wall Street are critical of its high valuation and slowing user growth. Snap has warned it may never become profitable.
Those worries increased after Snap's first quarterly report last month showed declining revenue expansion, disappointing investors who had hoped the company would surprise them with big numbers.
Dipping below an IPO price is seen on Wall Street as a setback to be avoided, but it is not uncommon for Silicon Valley companies whose market listings have been hyped to investors.
Alibaba slipped under its IPO price 233 days after its stock market debut, while Facebook dipped below its IPO price in its second day of trading. Facebook is now up nearly 300 per cent from its IPO.
Snap's IPO was popular among 20-something investors, according to mobile trading app Robinhood.
It recently traded at nearly 21 times expected revenue, according to Thomson Reuters data. Facebook has a revenue multiple of 11.6.
Since last month, the interest rate short-sellers pay to borrow shares of Snap has jumped to 42 per cent a year, according to Astec Analytics.
Some insiders in Snap's IPO will be free to sell their shares at the end of next month, increasing the supply available to shortsellers.
The Advisor Shares Ranger Equity Bear ETF made money selling Snap after its IPO and buying the shares back after its disappointing quarterly report. Portfolio manager Brad Lamensdorf said he would consider shorting Snap again once more shares hit the market. "Its price-to-sales ratio is just so freaking high," he said.