Uber Technologies’ shares made a disappointing market debut on Friday, marking a rocky start for the most anticipated initial public offering of the year as other high-profile start-ups such as Slack and WeWork seek to go public.
The fall in shares undermined Uber’s strategy of pricing its oversubscribed IPO conservatively at $45 per share to avoid a repeat of rival Lyft’s stock market struggles following a strong debut in March.
The company’s shares opened at $42 and fell as much as 9 percent, to a low of $41.06 in early trading, before recovering most of their losses to trade down 2.5 percent, at $43.92, by 1805 GMT.
Lyft was down 4 percent, well below its IPO price.
Uber’s IPO comes against the backdrop of a spike in trade tensions between the United States and China that has weighed on financial markets and increased investor skepticism about its ability to turn profitable soon enough.
CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who was on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor to mark the debut, tried to calm investors by pointing to the company’s growth prospects and expansion plans.
“My reaction (to the share price) is if we build and build well, shareholders will be rewarded. We’re certainly not measuring our success over a day, it really is over the years,” Khosrowshahi said.
Khosrowshahi was accompanied by a team of Uber officials at the NYSE to celebrate the start of the company’s life as a listed entity. Co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick, who resigned in 2017 under pressure from investors, was also seen on the trading floor.