Where Uber's ugly debut ranks among IPO sell-offs of the decade

David Foster for Yahoo Finance

Uber debut was also affected by stock market volatility caused by United States and China trade standoff.

Uber opened at $42, or 6.7% below its $45 IPO price. The stock closed at $41.57, and Uber joined a small group of major IPOs that ended their first day down. It's now his job to make good on that promise, guiding the company to growth in new markets and its current ones, and building competitive advantages that eventually generate significant profits.

"It's a great moment for the company and all the employees who have been working so hard to get here", Khosrowshahi said in an interview with The Associated Press.

After all the hoopla surrounding Uber Technologies's $8.1 billion initial public offering, investors in the ride-hailing company must have been less than thrilled as its shares debuted with a resounding thud.

Uber has said that it has the potential to grow not just in the cab hailing business, but also as a "superapp" to provide a variety of logistic services, such as grocery and food delivery, organizing freight transportation, and even financial services, much like Grab, its Southeast Asian counterpart.

Uber's stock was trading at about three per cent lower than its IPO price Friday afternoon. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber's chief executive officer, said in an interview on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange that trade tensions between the US and China played a role in the weak performance. Lyft stock also dropped this morning and hit an all-time low of $50.03 shortly before Uber shares began trading.

Speaking to RT, the director of options at Simpler Trading, Danielle Shay, said the IPO debut may not be that bad for the firm long term, even though tech stocks normally surge after IPOs. The trading debut will be closely watched by the cavalcade of other tech startups that are expected to go public this year, including Slack Technologies Inc., Postmates Inc., Peloton Interactive Inc. and Airbnb Inc.

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At least Uber's misery has company.

Lyft's falling stock this week put pressure on Uber as it finalized the price of the most anticipated IPO since Facebook's debut in 2012.

As Gizmodo's Brian Merchant writes, driver dissatisfaction is baked into the cake of both Uber and Lyft's business models: "Treating drivers as replaceable, disposable placeholders for algorithms is finally taking its toll". While there will be plenty of investors willing to accept short-term losses for long-term gain, Uber and Lyft will have much more competition in the autonomous taxi market than it now has in the ride-share market, including companies like Tesla and Google.

Uber sold 180 million shares on Thursday at $45 each in its initial public offering, the process by which institutional investors buy shares ahead of a stock market listing.

There are a few reasons why Uber's shares failed to rise.

"The most important sort of statistic to look at is bookings, because that reflects essentially what people are paying for the service", he said.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group and Bank of America Corp led the listing.

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