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Investors watching Facebook's debut on Wall Street

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Posted: May 18, 2012 11:14 AM
Updated: May 18, 2012 11:14 AM
Source: Associated Press

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Topics: facebook, public, company, stock, nasdaq, stock, market

NEW YORK - Facebook is updating its status to "public company" as its stock jumps in its debut on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The stock opened at $42.05 on Friday morning. It later settled at $39.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiled as rang the opening bell from Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Surrounded by cheering Facebook employees and wearing his signature hoodie, the 28-year-old pushed the button that signals the opening of the stock market in New York.

On Thursday, Facebook and the investment bankers arranging the IPO settled on a price of $38 per share.

The company and its early investors raised $16 billion in the offering, which valued Facebook at $104 billion.

That makes Facebook the most valuable U.S. company to ever go public.

Now, the stock market will assign a dollar value to Facebook that will rise and fall with investor whims.

It is a cultural touchstone for the way technology reshapes our lives.

Since its start as a scrappy network for college students, Facebook has come to define social networking by getting 900 million people around the world to share everything from photos of their pets to their deepest thoughts.

It has done so while becoming one of the few profitable Internet companies to go public recently.

It had net income of $205 million in the first three months of 2012, on revenue of $1.06 billion. In all of 2011, it earned $1 billion, up from $606 million a year earlier.

That's a far cry from 2007, when it posted a net loss of $138 million and revenue of $153 million.

The company makes most of its money from advertising. It also takes a cut from the money people spend on virtual items in Facebook games such as "FarmVille."


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