When I posted last week that the Facebook IPO was an opportunity for fraud, and quoted Jim Sallah, the well-known Boca Raton securities attorney, I was talking about stock scammers, not major brokerage firms.
Reuters is reporting, under a headline Morgan Stanley Cut Facebook Estimates Just Before IPO that in the run-up to Facebook's $16 billion IPO, Morgan Stanley the lead underwriter on the deal, unexpectedly told some of its clients that the firm was reducing its revenue forecasts for the company.
It remains to be seen whether that was fraudulent conduct, but that information, if true, is certainly going to attract the interest of regulators and customer attorneys. The impact of such a statement, in particular coming from the lead underwriter might have contributed to the weak performance of Facebook shares, which sank on Monday and Tuesday - their second and third days of trading - to end more than 18 percent below the IPO price.
Institutions and major clients generally enjoy quick access to investment bank research, while retail clients in many cases only get it later. According to the article, it is unclear whether Morgan Stanley only told its top clients about the revised view or spread the word more broadly. The company declined to comment when asked who was told about the research.