Tech Biz Roundup: Analyst Tries to PUMP Facebook, Groupon Shares Scorched

It’s now two weeks since Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) IPO, and the company’s shares are trading around $10 below the starting price, despite Baird’s new Outperform and a price target of $37. That analyst noted FB’s tech focus and user experience, which ‘puts it in the same league as Google and Amazon’, commenting that “We expect Facebook to continue down the ‘Google Path,’ allowing the hacker culture to guide management decision making.”. However, a New York Times column panned the company’s Sponsored Stories product, pointing out its inadequate ad-matching capabilities, plus privacy problems, which the Los Angeles Times noted when reporting that some American teens are turning against Twitter and Tumblr, for the same reason.

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Leap Wireless’ (NASDAQ:LEAP) arrangement to carry the iPhone doesn’t impress Canaccord’s Greg Miller, who opines that it’s “virtually impossible” to imagine that the deal has a positive risk versus reward for the carrier. Leap is marketing the phone with limited subsidies, and most details about the agreement remain unknown. Further, the analyst contends that the fact that Leap trades at only 3.9 times its estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, makes the valuation in-line with those of other companies “whose future is in doubt”.

Shares of Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) hit new post-IPO lows on its share lockup expiration day. The stock saw sizable losses on Thursday, and the expiration on Friday allows approximately 600 million shares that are held by insiders to be sold. Less than three weeks ago, the company experienced a huge pre- and post-earnings rally.

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) faces court action unless it changes its rules for search results and ads by July 2, says European Union antitrust head Joaquin Almunia. The most prominent worry of the EU appears to be the ‘preferential placement’ given to Google sites within its search results, but Almunia allows that he might be open to a settlement on that topic. At the same time, there appears to be no resolution in sight regarding Google’s problems with the FTC.

Steve Jobs’ three-prong goal of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) transforming the textbook, TV, and photographic industries, seems to be working out. The company’s footprint is already felt in the first, rumors have it that the Apple TV is coming in the fall, and an iLounge source says now that Apple is developing a high-end point-and-shoot iSight camera. However, that site does say that its comments fall into the category of speculation.

Shares of Seagate (NASDAQ:STX) and Western Digital (NYSE:WDC) continue their week-long decline Friday, as worries mount concerning slowing PC demand, plus the end of a favorable supply and pricing climate for hard drives due to Thai manufacturing disruptions, make their effects. It didn’t help matters when on Thursday Barclays made their concerns known regarding the impact of solid-state drives and tablet cannibalization on hard drive demand.

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