Uber's transition to becoming a publicly traded company is landing with a thud, but it's not the first to experience that, not even this week.

However, it is uncommon for a company with such a high profile to stumble out of the gate.

And traders scratched their heads Friday, trying to remember a high-profile IPO like Uber going south on the first day.

Uber's shares began trading about US$2 ($3.03) below its initial public offering price of US$45 ($68.19).

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At the closing bell on Friday it was at US$41.57, which is a drop of 7.6 per cent.

Uber raised almost US$25 billion in 23 rounds of financing before going public.

Matt Kennedy, a senior IPO market strategist at Renaissance Capital, says that over the past five years, just 10 per cent of US technology companies backed by venture capital finished their first day of trading below their IPO price.

Facebook debuted in 2012, and after technical difficulties delayed its start to trading, it ended its first day just 23 cents above its IPO price of US$38.

Kennedy points out that unlike Facebook, however, Uber hasn't been turning profits.

After falling close to 9 per cent Friday, shares of Uber Technologies Inc. are down less than 1 per cent.

That's highly unusual, especially for a high-profile tech company like Uber. Shares of rid-sharing rival Lyft soared 21 per cent at one point during its initial public offering in late March. But that company has had a rough ride since, falling almost 30 per cent since it debuted.

Some analysts pointed to volatile market conditions over the past few weeks, and Friday as well. All major US markets are in decline, having fallen 3 per cent or more this week.

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Both Uber co-founders, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, were present at the exchange for the opening but absent from the podium during the bell ringing.

Tony West, Uber's chief legal officer who has been working to repair Uber's image while settling lawsuits around the globe, shot smartphone videos from the floor while waiting for the first trade.

The opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange was rung by Austin Geidt, one of Uber's earliest employees.

She joined the company in 2010 and is now head of strategy for Uber's Advanced Technologies Group, which works on autonomous vehicles. She and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi were joined by Uber drivers from around the world and other Uber executives at the NYSE.

- AP