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Facebook 'Classic Example of Investor Greed': Bogle

Tuesday, 22 May 2012 | 3:25 PM ET

Facebook's dismal initial public opening was a product of greed and dangerous investing in "fad" Internet social networks, Vanguard CEO Jack Bogle told CNBC Tuesday.

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As the Facebook IPOcontinues to get slammed in the open market, the famed buy-and-hold value investor and index fund advocate expressed little sympathy for the wave of negative headlines Facebook is enduring.

"This is a classic example of investor greed, including institutional greed and underwriter greed and company greed," he said on CNBC's "Street Signs" program. "So the message is, when all the parties to a transaction are greedy, this is the kind of outcome you can expect."

Facebook debuted on the market Friday and priced at $38, at the top end of its expected range. But trading opened a half-hour later than scheduled because of technical glitches at the Nasdaq trading platform, and the momentum only got worse from there.

While the stock finished its first day slightly higher, it got crushed on Monday, losing about 11 percent, followed by another substantial loss Tuesday.

For Bogle, the slide in the much-hyped Facebook is typical of the perils investors face when trying to pick individual stocks.

"Nobody can predict their price performance, nobody can predict their future value," he said. "While nobody can predict the future price of the total stock market, we can predict its future performance, which depends clearly and 100 percent on how the underlying American economy does, how corporations do in the long run."

Bogle on Social Media Stocks: 'A Dangerous Game'
What impact does Facebook's plunge have on the psyche of the retail investor? Legendary investor and founder of the Vanguard Group, Jack Bogle, offers insight. "It all comes down to value and it all goes away from price, and avoiding IPOs and avoiding even individual stocks is the best strategy for investors," Bogle says.

While acknowledging that U.S. growthis likely to be slower than in the past, he said betting on the economy is still safer than putting faith in startups and IPOs.

"Stocks can do what they wish and to some extent the market can do what it wishes," Bogle said. "But when you look back at the grand wave of IPOs, the new economy and Internet and information age back in the late '90s and early 2000s, it's a fad. It's in the price of the stock and people are looking for a free ride upward in the new world. Truth be told, the old world persists in making its reality felt."

"I remain buttressed somewhat by Facebook and the other Internet and social network companies that are lined up out there," he added. "Watch out. It's a dangerous game."

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