Facebook shares rise in buildup to mystery event, earnings

Mon Jan 14, 2013 5:19pm EST
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By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc's stock opened on Monday above $32 for the first time since July as anticipation about upcoming products and financial results underscored Wall Street's renewed confidence in the online social network.

Facebook will on Tuesday host its first major press event at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, since its troubled initial public offering in May, triggering a guessing game among technology observers and online blogs about what it could unveil - everything from a smartphone to a search engine.

"There's a lot of speculation. Nothing to me seems to be that certain," Jefferies & Co analyst Brian Pitz said.

"If I were to bet, I'd think it was something that was ad-platform related. I'm not convinced on the phone," said Pitz, citing previous comments by Facebook's leaders including CEO Mark Zuckerberg that making a smartphone would be the "wrong strategy" for Facebook.

In an email to reporters last week, Facebook invited the media to "come and see what we're building" without providing details.

Some analysts said the stock's recent gains - shares are up roughly 17 percent since the start of the year - may have more to do with the company's upcoming fourth-quarter financial results, slated for January 30.

"The stock is up because they have driven a dramatic increase in the ad load of their mobile app which is giving investors hope that they exceeded expectations," BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said.

Shares were down about 1.3 percent to $31.30 in mid-afternoon trading.   Continued...

The Facebook logo is seen on a screen inside at the Nasdaq Marketsite in New York May 18, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton