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Based on the amount of stock outstanding after the offering, the IPO price gives San Francisco-based Uber a market value of nearly $74 billion, below its last private market value of $76 billion. Some, like Uber and Lyft, are unprofitable.

The IPO was oversubscribed, but Uber settled for a lower price to avoid a repeat of Lyft's IPO in late March, which priced strongly, began trading up, then plunged.

Uber's IPO came against a backdrop of turbulent financial markets, fueled by the trade dispute between the United States and China, as well as the plunging share price of its USA rival Lyft Inc.

Uber board member Ryan Graves, right, rings a ceremonial bell as the company's stock opens for trading. The caution may have been driven by the escalating doubts about the ability of ride-hailing services to make money since Uber's main rival, Lyft, went public six weeks ago. Over the past five years, just 10% of such companies finished their first day of trading below their IPO price, said Matt Kennedy, senior IPO market strategist at Renaissance Capital, a manager of IPO focused funds.

A market value of less than $75 billion is a considerable climb down from earlier projections: past year, bankers jockeying to lead the offering told Uber it could be valued at as much as $120 billion in an IPO.

Uber is suffering a awful first day as a public company as its shares slid into negative territory in the initial moments of trading. All major USA markets are in decline, having fallen three per cent or more this week.

Despite all that, Uber's IPO is the biggest since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group debuted with a value of $167.6 billion in 2014. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tried to strike a positive note, telling Reuters from the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, "My reaction [to the share price] is if we build and build well, shareholders will be rewarded". As well as the original ride-hailing business, Uber is developing driverless cars and has a food delivery operation, Uber Eats.

Uber might be even more popular if not for a series of revelations about unsavory behavior that sullied its image and resulted in the ouster of its co-founder, Travis Kalanick, as CEO almost two years ago.

Uber's stock was trading at about three per cent lower than its IPO price Friday afternoon. Robert Johnson, professor of finance at Heider College of Business, Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska said.

C'mon. Literally no one believes that Uber is actually worth $82bn, especially when it continues to lose billions of dollars every year, but everyone was hoping that everyone else would be stupid enough to imagine that everyone else was stupid enough to buy stock. And of course earlier investors are still going to make small fortunes.