Facebook Falls as Employees Dump Shares

For the first time since the Facebook IPO (initial public offering), employees are able to sell their common shares.   Last week, employees were able to convert theirs RSUs (restricted stock units) to common shares at 23.23 a share.  RSUs prevent employees from saturating the market with too many shares following an IPO.  Since this is the first day the market is open since Hurricane Sandy stormed through, it was the first day the shares could be sold.  About fifty million share changed hands in the first hour of trading.  That’s in an otherwise lackluster trading day when people up and down the east coast are more concerned about cleaning up after the storm than trading shares of stock.  Even though Facebook employees can finally sell their shares, they will have to pay taxes at the top income tax rate, as the IRS taxes RSUs as ordinary income on their full market value as of the day they vest. Facebook says the tax rate will average about 45% (35% Federal and 10% California).  To pay the taxes, Facebook will with hold a portion of the employees shares to cover the bill.  In early afternoon trading FB shares are trading at $21.02, down $0.92.

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