Very soon, Facebook will go public. That means anyone will be able to buy shares of the social networking giant on the Nasdaq exchange. But sophisticated investors have already been buying pieces of Facebook and many other hot tech stocks, on private exchanges.
And now it seems that trading in private company shares is poised to grow, thanks to recent changes in the law.
After hitting its highest mark since December 2007 on Tuesday because of a bullish report about the health of the manufacturing sector in April, the Dow Jones industrial average is right now down about 45 points (less than 0.3 percent) because of negative news about hiring and manufacturing.
The Senate passed a bill Thursday to explicitly ban insider trading by members of Congress and the executive branch, and that means the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act is headed to the president's desk.
But this STOCK Act is quite a bit weaker than earlier versions.
The STOCK Act has been on a glide path ever since an explosive 60 Minutes story last fall highlighted the issue of members of Congress apparently profiting on nonpublic information.