SAN FRANCISCO -- Now this is the kind of status update Facebook executives will cheer: Shares hit an all-time high on Wednesday as investors continue to bet the giant social network can wring big money from advertising on mobile devices.
Shares rose 3.3% to $45.05 at 10:50 a.m. Pacific time, marking the first time since its first day of trading in May 2012 that Facebook has enjoyed that level of investor appreciation.
After staging the largest technology offering on record, the stock lost more than half its value last year from its initial public stock offering price of $38, falling as low as $17.55. It did not reach $38 again until last month.
Now the comeback appears to be in full swing. Facebook climbed to $45 as Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg prepared to give an onstage interview at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon.
Last time Zuckerberg was interviewed by technology blogger and investor Michael Arrington at Disrupt, his remarks pulled the stock out of a prolonged funk. It was his first public appearance after his company’s botched IPO and he said the words that worried investors had longed to hear: “We care about our shareholders.” These days, no one is talking about Zuckerberg being in over his hoodie.
With nearly 1.2 billion users, Facebook has begun to prove to marketers that its ads on smart phones and tablets are effective. Mobile made up 41% of advertising revenue in the second quarter.
The stock surge is making Zuckerberg even richer. At $45 a share, his stake is worth about $22 billion.
Can Facebook keep up the momentum? Analysts seem to think so. Of the 32 analysts covering the company, 30 have a buy rating on the stock.