Facebook stock almost hits IPO price, 14 months after rocky debut

Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:22pm EDT
 
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By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's stock on Tuesday came within a hair of reclaiming its $38 debut price for the first time since going public in 2012, a milestone in the social networking company's effort to wipe away Wall Street's skepticism of its business.

The stock has surged more than 40 percent in the past week after the company reported blowout quarterly results that showed Facebook's progress building a mobile advertising business.

Shares of Facebook climbed as much as 7 percent to $37.96 in heavy trading on Tuesday, before settling back to finish the regular session at $37.63.

The social network, with 1.15 billion users, has never traded at or above $38 since its initial public offering in May 2012.

Facebook's market value was cut in half in the months following the IPO as concerns about issues ranging from slowing revenue to massive insider selling made the Internet company's stock a Wall Street punch line.

"Most companies of that size don't re-accelerate their growth rate. Facebook's been an exception," said Aaron Kessler, an analyst with Raymond James.

"I would say they're in better shape today than they were at the IPO price and the stock is still below that," he said.

Facebook options volume was frenzied on Tuesday, as overall turnover was 3.8 times the recent daily average, according to options analytics firm Trade Alert. Traders on Tuesday exchanged 694,000 calls and 300,000 puts on Facebook.   Continued...

 
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's co-founder and chief executive introduces 'Home' a Facebook app suite that integrates with Android during a Facebook press event in Menlo Park, California, April 4, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith