Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Sydney — Facebook has racked up plenty of milestones in its pioneering journey. Now the social media giant is poised to add one it would doubtless rather avoid: the biggest stock market wipeout in American history.

That could happen on Thursday if the 24% tumble in Facebook’s stock in after-hours trading is replicated in the regular New York session.

Its market capitalisation plummeted late Wednesday, at one point by about $151bn, a 24% fall, as sales and user growth disappointed investors.

A move of that magnitude on Thursday would be the largest ever loss of value in one day for a US-traded company.

Facebook stock was down 17% at $181.25 in pre-market trading on Thursday, after having closed at $217.50 in regular trading. It ended the after-hours session down 20% at $173.50, a loss of about $126bn.

The following graph looks at some of history’s other notable one-day share slams, considering American companies that were worth at least $150bn in any year over the past decade.

Intel: Back in the depths of the tech bust, Intel lost about $91bn on one September day in 2000.

Exxon Mobil: Already reeling from the financial crisis and recession in October 2008, the energy group lost $53bn one wretched Wednesday that month.

Apple: The slowest profit growth in 10 years at the tech giant triggered a loss of almost $60bn on January 24 2013.